THE NOTORIOUS BETTIE PAGEThey called her the dark pin-up goddess. Her name was Bettie Page. In the 1950s, her lascivious yet cheerfully innocent poses were to make her a legendary photographic model. Considered a sex bomb at the time, she later became an icon of pop culture and a fetishist figurehead to the members of the sadomasochistic scene. Scantily clad in black leather, bound or armed with a whip, she personified a style of eroticism that was an enduring source of inspiration for comic illustrators, fashion designers and even Madonna.
In reality, this wicked beauty came from an extremely modest background; the impact her career was to have later on stood in stark contrast to her personal beliefs. In 1955 she was summoned to appear before a US Senate hearing to establish the influence of alleged pornographic literature on delinquent youths. This court appearance provides an opportunity to look back on her life. Born into a poor family in Nashville, Tennessee in 1923, she grows up during the Depression, a sheltered daughter who is a regular church-goer in her teens. In 1949, her dream to attend college unfulfilled, and her early marriage to her childhood friend Billy Neal having come to an unhappy end, she gets on a bus bound for New York where she hopes to start a new life. She is taking a walk on Coney Island one day when she is approached by a passer by policeman and amateur photographer Jerry Tibbs who asks her to pose for him. While Jerry sets about turning her, bit by bit, into an artificial figure, Bettie dreams of a career as a serious actress. And so it is that one day, she finds herself in the office of Movie Star News, where photographer Irving Klaw and his half-sister Paula transform this god-fearing girl into a threat for decency and morals