‘Bettie Page Reveals All’ technically doesn’t reveal it all

"Bettie Page Reveals All" features the pioneering pinup telling her own story. Credit: Music Box Films
“Bettie Page Reveals All” features the pioneering pinup telling her own story.
Credit: Music Box Films

‘Bettie Page Reveals All’
Director: Mark Mori
Genre: Documentary
Rating: R
2 (out of 5) Globes

The documentary “Bettie Page Reveals All” — let that double entendre sink in a bit — has an ace up its sleeve, namely the actual 85-year-old Page giving her own account of her life before her death in 2008. It’s a biggie: The pioneering pin-up, who was so photogenic it’s impossible to find a bum picture of her, found God at the height of her celebrity and removed herself from the spotlight. The makers of “Reveals” were lucky to preserve her last testament on film — or audio, rather, as she understandably didn’t want the world to see her decrepit self, destroying the public image of her as a chipper, rarely clothed babe. (Though that does technically make the title a lie.)

If records set straight is all you require, then “Reveals” gets the job done. If you seek something that isn’t drab, sloppy and cheap, plus boasting a persistent score that sounds like a Casio keyboard stuck on its generic ‘50s lounge music setting, you might be a tad let down. Not that Page’s first “authorized” biographical documentary needed to be slick, but the plain production doesn’t befit a legend belatedly — in fact, posthumously — getting her chance to be heard.

Not that it isn’t interesting, of course. Page (not very clearly recorded, it must be noted) is amusingly matter-of-fact about her life as a nudie queen, even when she was coerced into more naughty gigs. As one commentator notes, she’s one of the few bondage models who doesn’t look depressed: She strikes a fake-surprise pose, appearing every bit as game as she does when she’s merely in her birthday suit.

Late in, the film takes on the “unauthorized” Page movie, 2005’s “The Notorious Bettie Page.” Page herself is said to have shouted “LIES!” at a screening. But this just brings up the question of what makes better art. “Notorious” may have fibbed, but it had a brilliant performance from Gretchen Mol and fervently avoided period cliches. It captured her essence, if not the specific truth.

“Reveals” has her voice but not her essence. It has her photos, a carousel of them flashing across the screen as she regales us with her story. (Often she’s usurped by others, including Hugh Hefner, who reminds us that, yes, the ‘50s were puritanical times.) But when it doesn’t have Page nudes to fill the frame, it turns to generic ‘50s footage (clean kids at the drive-in, clean kids at dances, etc.) It’s useful as a point of reference but lousy as a movie. It would, however, have made a beautiful coffee table book.


Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking


K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.


Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.


Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.


Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.


Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…


Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.


Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.


2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…


Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.


Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.


Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.


Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.