Synopsis: Bettie Page (in her films credited as Betty Page) was the top pin up queen of the 50s and has become the cult model of the last decades. Bettie was known for her distinctive hair-cut and figure when she became the most photographed pin up of all time.
From 1951 until 1956 she appeared in 3 feature length burlesque films (STRIPORAMA, VARIETEASE, TEASERAMA), and several EXOTIC DANCE films, featured on this DVD.
eyelights: it collects many disparate Bettie Page appearances. its bonus shorts.
eyesores: its relative redundancy. its poor source material.
‘Bettie Page: Pin Up Queen’ is a compilation of Bettie Page’s various film appearances. Though it also includes some of the short films that she made with Irving Klaw, it features her bits from ‘Striporama‘, ‘Varietease‘ and ‘Teaserama‘.
In essence, it’s 100% pure Bettie Page.
It’s redundant to go over the bits that were already discussed in our previous blurbs, so we won’t go into those bits. Suffice to say that it’s the same Bettie Page material but it’s disconnected from all the other acts that were also featured.
Sadly, it also forgoes all of the delightful cue card segments that were the highlight of ‘Teaserama’ and her bit with Tempest. It does, however, include the trailers for ‘Varietease’ and ‘Teaserama’ (though, strangely enough, not for ‘Striporama’):
- Varietease: The trailer focuses on its star attraction, Lily St. Cyr, but it also showcases the variety show format really well, offering snippets from various performances. Ultimately, though, it feels more like a curiosity than great entertainment.
- Teaserama: Strangely, this one seems more appealing than its predecessor, despite the fact that it’s far $#ittier. But perhaps it’s a biased response due to the greater presence of Bettie Page, who also appears more often in the feature film.
As part of its main programming, ‘Pin Up Queen’ also includes ‘The Exotic Dances of Bettie Page‘, which we’ve also already covered. The difference here is that it offers a slightly different line-up of short films than the blu-ray release:
‘Pin Up Queen’ version
1. Tantalizing Betty Dances Again
2. Tambourine Dance
3. Joyful Dance by Betty
4. Betty’s Hat Dance
5. The Teaser Girl, Part 2
6. Dream Dance by Betty
7. Dance of Passion
1. Return of the Teaser Girl
2. Betty’s Clown Dance, Part One
3. Betty’s Clown Dance, Part Two
4. Flirtatious Dance by Betty
5. Peppy Graceful Dance
6. Betty Waltzing in Satin Scanties
7. Betty High Heel Dance
8. Tambourine Dance
9. Joyful Dance by Betty
10. Betty’s Hat Dance
11. Dream Dance by Betty
12. Betty’s Lingerie Tease Dance, Part Two
Note that it features seven shorts instead of twelve – and even then it replaces three of the seven; there are only four shorts films in common between both versions. And yet they were both released by Cult Epics. I can’t wrap my mind around it.
In any event, here’s a breakdown of the three “new” shorts:
1. Tantalizing Betty Dances Again: Here Bettie is found brushing her hair while sitting on a loveseat. She’s wearing a black bra, panties, garter and stockings. She gets up and waves her black see-through nightie around while moving around, shaking her hips. The camera is frequently set on her, waist up, for some reason. But it does go down when she rotates her hips and focuses on her legs for a while. Then it pulls back as she teases the audience further.
5. The Teaser Girl, Part 2: There’s no title card for this one; it finds Bettie already moving in what looks like a shiny, silky red (?) bra, light undies, black stocking and black arm-length gloves. She just walks around a poof then sits down against it to play with her hair. She kicks her legs up, rolls around, stretches out. After showing her shapely tush and swaying it for the camera, she climbs atop the poof and gyrates for a bit, before coming down and stretching her legs for our enjoyment.
7. Dance of Passion: Dressed in a lovely black lace bra that enhances her cleavage, black lace panties with a white bottom, long gloves and stocking, Bettie gets down on the floor cavorting, twisting around. She gets back up, shakes her hips for the camera and gyrates really sexily. Then she gets down on the floor and rolls her arms, winding up on her stomach. The white bottom gives the impression that her butt is more exposed, which is a nice touch.
The DVD also features some extras, which are tacked on to the tail end of the main programming (there’s no menu to select the individual numbers or the special features). You’ll note that numbers one and three are on the blu-ray of ‘Exotic Dances’.
Again, it’s not clear why that is.
1. Betty’s Clown Dance, Part Two: See our previous write-up. (Nota bene: for some reason, this version is in super slow-motion.)
2. Betty’s Lingerie Tease Dance: Set in front of curtains, Bettie moves around wearing lingerie and a transparent skirt; it’s not so much dancing as teasing. She proceeds to toss her “skirt” outside the frame and then takes out garters and panties and showcases them for us. The camera work is shoddy, blurry, moving up and down leaving her head off camera sometimes.
3. Betty’s Lingerie Tease Dance, Part Two: See our previous write-up.
4. Betty’s G-string Dance, Part Two: Bettie’s walking around, shaking her hips in a black top and a white bottom with black tassels on the bottom edge. She’s very cute. They call it a G-string dance, but it’s the biggest “G-string” I’ve ever seen!
5. Betty’s Fireplace Dance: Bettie is sitting in a white bikini with colour bands on the top borders. She’s changing poses, rolling on her back, beckoning us to her. She ends the short stretching her legs above her alluringly. Nice. The picture quality of this short is dramatically better than the others (perhaps it was 16mm instead of 8mm?).
6. Pin-up Beauties Fight: Bettie’s in black lingerie and is pitted against another girl in white lingerie as they wrestle each other on the floor. Bettie gets a few severe spankings, during which they both laugh, before she returns the favour. They eventually end up standing and spanking each other at the same time, which is hilarious. The wrestling gets pretty naughty when they end up in a 69 position, but it gets hilarious again when Bettie fake punches the other girl on the jaw repeatedly, rides astride her in victory and then “collapses with exhaustion”. Super cute. Ultimately, it’s a pretty sexy “fight”.
All of these shorts are also shot by Irving Klaw and, though they were shot with no sound, the producers of the DVD chose to add totally discrepant big band stuff and crap covers as background. It’s absolutely horrid, but you can always press “mute”.
For those who (understandably) don’t want to sit through ‘Striporama’, ‘Varietease’ and ‘Teaserama’, ‘Pin Up Queen’ is an excellent compilation; it not only gets rid of the chaff, but it also adds extra performances on top of those.
Personally, I found it slightly redundant: if ever I have a Bettie Page craving, I could watch any number of DVDs or, better yet, grab a collection of her still pictures. I think that her feature film appearances are best left in their proper context.
Still, it’s a decent one stop shop or “best of”.
Dates of viewings: Sept 3-4, 2017