I honestly can’t say how many folks will be won over by BETTIE PAGE: DARK ANGEL. Essentially, it’s a fictional account of Page’s life up until the point of her ‘mysterious disappearance’ from society. Clearly, it’s made on the cheap – shot on video and 16 mm – and it’s helmed by Nico B, the founder of Cult Epics. Paige Richards does a respectable job in trying to recapture the pomp & circumstance that surrounded the original Bettie; however, while she captures the pinup queen’s on-screen antics quite well, the smaller moments – the ones trying to tell the story of Bettie’s life – fall mostly as flat as one expects from direct-to-DVD or Cinemax skin pics aired after hours.
As for the story, there really isn’t all that much here. The narrative essentially serves to give license to re-capturing the substance of Bettie’s bondage films, and these recreations are interspersed liberally throughout the 75 minute story. Instead of learning more about the starlet, we’re basically given retreads of the shorts. Certainly, Bettie enthusiasts will be pleased, but folks expecting a story can only glean the bullet points already available from a Wikipedia entry.
The motion picture is the responsibility of Cult Epics for production and distribution. The image and sound are what we’ve come to expect in this era of homegrown production, and the disc is chocked with special features including: the original bondage films of Bettie Page (1951 – 1956); the 57” Incident Teaserama music video; In Search of Bettie Page (a nice little video of Nico B’s attempt to achieve a greater insight into the model); some basic behind-the-scenes shorts including casting calls and some rather dubious attempts at what are called ‘rehearsals’; and the uncut short film of “Dominant Bettie in Black Corset.”
As someone who loves history especially when it’s given a face and a name, I expected more from this one, but I’d imagine it serves up exactly what its intended audience wanted. Given the fact the Ms. Page remained a recluse unwilling to speak about her past, this may be all we ever know.
RECOMMENDED mostly for fans of Bettie Page and maybe even folks who have an ongoing interest in pinups, cosplay, and adult films. There’s not an awful lot of nudity here, but Page in many respects wasn’t so much about bare skin as she was the playfulness of sexuality and fetishes. By comparison to so much of what’s available on the web these days, so much of what she did was genuinely benign, and it’s no wonder she’s embraced by a legion of fans around the world.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Cult Epics provided me with a DVD screener of BETTIE PAGE DARK ANGEL by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
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What? You don't know enough about me from the picture? Get a clue! I'm a graduate from the School of Hard Knocks! You can find me around the web as "Trekscribbler" or "Manchops". … more
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