We saw The Notororious Bettie Page
. It is not much of a story, or even a biopic; the movie never gets under Bettie's lovely skin.
But what I really liked was the cinematography. The movie, like her films, starts out in black and white. Then as it moves forward in the 50's, it moves into Technicolor, then into the more somber shades that followed Technicolor. What that gave was a visceral feeling of the times changing. We're used to seeing the '50's in black and white, and the '60's in color. It was a neat effect. It may have come up because they were trying to match stock footage of the time, but they got the most out of it.
Gretchen Mol does a lovely job of representing Bettie, but the story makes her out to be a pretty simple girl, notwithstanding some terrible things that happened to her. Without speculating a little more about her private life (hard to do when your subject is alive and born-again), there's not that much story there.
I wonder if Bettie Page really was that much of an icon at the time. She is now. But was she really the "Pinup Queen of the Universe"? It's hard to imagine. Her photos are so tame and the movies seem "all in good fun," which is not really the effect you're going for if you're tying someone up -- or being tied.
I think your question is a valid one. How famous was Bettie back in the day? I would say that she was known basically to fans of girlie magazines, fetish photos, and burlesque fans who saw her in movies like Varietease. If you're interested, I've written a good deal about this movie on my blog:
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