A five DVD set of Bettie Page? Has this cult icon really come that far? Of course, technically it isn’t five discs solely of Bettie, it’s just that she appears in all of them. But still I’m impressed. Bettie Page has become more than just a cult figure, she’s a symbol for sexy without being slutty, a girl who had a look, a style, a figure that stopped you in your tracks and even today, still has that power. From the classic films of auteur Irving Klaw with Bettie and a bevy of scantily clad models in bondage gear to her burlesque turns in Varietease and Teaserama, it’s all here and more besides.
The Bondage Queen disc introduces us to a world where girls always seem to walk around in their scanties before being grabbed by some other girl in her scanties who then ties the first girl up. Of course it is very frustrating trying to play strip chess if some girlie keeps knocking over the pieces, she deserves to be tied up! Although anything but pornographic, there’s an exotic feel to this early raunch, a world of Bridget Jones size undies and pointy bras, that makes you wonder just how straight your grandparents really were. Bettie though doesn’t appear until about 30 minutes but it’s still an entertaining peek at what porn was before it became silicon and meat shots. The wanky narrating gets on your nerves though. Why try and justify it all? We just want to look at girls getting tied up. What’s wrong with that? Bettie looked good in her undies, that’s enough justification for me! Of course the bonus photo gallery of Bettie all tied up was pretty much justification for the whole damn box set if you ask me.
The Irving Klaw Classics (Vol 1? Where is Vol 2 then?) feature a lot more of Bettie including bonus footage of Bettie in colour and nude. The classics themselves feature Bettie in lingerie and more lingerie dancing and prancing and after a while I have to admit you do just tune out. This would be good in the background at some pub or club while you listened to some decent lounge musak but after half an hour or so I was starting to wish for some pink, or at least a nipple shot or hell, even just a different dance! But then I do that with new millennium porn too so I can’t really complain.
Varietease is an hour of burlesque featuring Lili St Cyr as the star, a bunch of comedians, flamenco dancers, singers, oh, and Bettie. Though not much of Bettie. This is old school variety with the bonus being David F Friedman’s audio commentary track where he talks about the old days of burlesque, variety and indy movie making. He continues to do the same on Teaserama where at least Bettie features throughout the program, though the star is Tempest Storm but once again we get blueballed with lots of teasing but no finish! No wonder our Grandads were always such grumpy bastards!! As a bonus we do get a coupla scenes from Striporama but why not just show the whole thing you bastards?! The sexy ass bubble bath showed just how well Bettie could tease though, she had something that’s fer sure. And she should work in real estate cause I had a coupla achers by the time she finished.
This is a great package for fans of the lady but is it Bettie or Betty? Not a great pseudonym really but what the hell. Oh yeah the fifth disc… how could I forget it? It’s Bunny Yeager, glamour gal and photographer taking us through her fave 100 pics and poses. There were some beautiful women floating around back then and Yeager, being a former model herself, knew just how to get the right shots. Reminded me of the mags my dad used to keep out in the shed that I’d look at when I was just a wee little pervert.
Five discs worth of burlesque and babes in their scanties may seem a little too much but I guess most people won’t be trying to watch them all in one session! Hell, you need them just to hear Friedman reminisce even if he does get a bit like your favourite uncle and repeat his stories every now and then. Chuck these babies on at your next party, there’s something much more erotic about Bettie and her pals than there is about Jenna and her bitches.
Extra features on the set are the David F Friedman commentary, the bondage photo gallery and a brief history of bondage plus a note from Bettie, original trailers for Varietease and Teaserama, extra Bettie shorts, including Teaser Girls in High Heels and Bettie Nude and a strange little comedy sequence from Striporama with two Abbott & Costello types dreaming about BP who appears, talks and disappears. Not sure if Striporama is still to come but it did seem odd that these “extras” didn’t just appear on the discs. There’s also three “extra” shorts of Bettie in various outfits on the Irving Klaw classics disc that are shot in black and white (as are most of the shorts) so they had to tell us she was wearing Black, White and Red lingerie respectively on the back cover! Ah well, you gotta give the folk something extra I guess even if it isn’t really extra.
DIRECTOR(S): Irving Klaw / Various | COUNTRY: USA | YEAR 1955 | DISTRIBUTOR(S): Umbrella Entertainment | RUNNING TIME: 353 minutes | ASPECT RATIO: 4:3 | REGION: 0 | DISCS: 5