Bettie Page: Dark Angel and How to Pose Nude by Bunny Yaeger (2005) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

(The two DVDs are sold as a set.)

Bettie Page was the queen of the fetish pin-ups in the early 1950s. She first posed for various camera clubs, then appeared in some fetish magazines like Black Nylons until she became New York's top model in her specialized and sexy field. Some of her most famous work was done for Irving Klaw, who ran a Manhattan-based mail order company specializing in light bondage photographs and videos. Bettie and the legendary photographer Bunny Yaeger teamed up in 1954 for a notorious jungle-themed session with two live cheetahs at a wildlife park, and Yaeger subsequently sent Bettie's pictures to Hugh Hefner, who was impressed enough to make Bettie Page his Playboy centerfold in January of 1955, which represented the summit of her popularity. Her career ended shortly after the Senate's "Kefauver Hearings" in which a senate subcommittee ended up shutting down Irving Klaw's mail order business. By the time she left the business, Page had gotten married, and had become interested in Christianity, so once she left the modeling business in 1958, she never looked back. She disappeared from public life for decades, and gradually disappeared from the cultural consciousness until a Bettie Page revival in the 1980s. In the 21st century, the combination of DVD and the internet has raised the public's awareness of her to a point where she is just as popular as in her prime.

Bettie Page: Dark Angel is a short (75 min) film which offers a thumbnail overview of the last three years of the public part of Bettie's life. It is a stilted, low-budget (less than six figures), amateurish affair with a dull script and some painfully bad line readings, but fans and students of Bettie's output may find it interesting for one reason. When Irving Klaw shut down his business, he burned his Bettie Page fetish videos to avoid future prosecutions and subpoenas. Bettie Page: Dark Angel makes a meticulous attempt to re-create some of those old vids as they would have looked, right down to the funky direct lighting. The 16mm B&W re-creations, shown in their entirety, occupy about half of the film's 75 minutes of running time. The film itself is in color and appears to have been shot on digital video. It contains absolutely no nudity, although there is some flesh in the special features. The star, Paige Richards, does resemble Bettie Page, and has the same radiant, innocent smile, but does not have a Tennessee accent. The director chose another actress to do the voice-over narration, and she does read her lines like a professional actress, but she couldn't manage to simulate an authentic Tennessee accent either, sounding like a cross between a Northerner trying to mimic somebody from Savannah, and Vivien Leigh as Blanche DuBois. For reasons not clear to me at all, the "actor" who plays Senator Estes Kefauver (another native Tennessean) does so with a heavy German accent! The film co-stars an actor named Dukey Flyswatter as Irving Klaw, and I think it goes without saying that this is probably the Citizen Kane of Dukey Flyswatter movies, although I haven't seen Dukey's other appearance -  in 1999's Cool Air, in which he assailed the challenging role of "street bum."

This comment from an IMDb member sums things up fairly well (all the words are his, but I have edited somewhat):

I saw it during the 2004 San Francisco Film Festival. Before it started the owner of the theatre got up and told us how half the audience had left the theatre the night before, which happened to be its "world premiere." I don't think anyone in the theatre understood just how bad the movie was going to be at that point. We all understood by the end.

A scene would start, then someone would say, "Wow! You're so great Bettie, why don't we make another movie?" This would be followed by five minutes of a Bettie Page remake which was almost as ridiculous as (and even more boring than) the normal part of the movie. By the end of the movie people were laughing every time another Bettie Page movie remake came up. I heard a lot of laughter in that theatre, but people were not laughing with the movie maker, they were laughing at the movie and its poor content and structure.

How to Pose Nude by Bunny Yaeger (63 min) is simply Ms Yaeger, a famous photographer who often snapped the real Bettie Page, recreating some of the original Bettie photoshoots with Paige Richards, star of Bettie Page: Dark Angel. There is no storyline. The audio basically consists of Ms. Yaeger's real-time instructions to her model, like "move your hand farther from your body so I can see your bust." The good news is that it offers almost non-stop nudity, perhaps to compensate for the total absence of flesh in Dark Angel. Unlike Dark Angel, this film does not try for an authentic period style - Paige Richards has an airstrip trim & Brazilian wax, for example. The special features include a comparison of the original shoots to the re-shoots.



  • Disc 1:
  • Bettie Page: Dark Angel
  • Behind the Scenes: Bondage, Fighting & Nudity
  • Original Music Recordings
  • Disc 2:
  • How To Pose Nude by Bunny Yeager
  • Interview with Paige Richards Conducted by Bunny Yeager
  • Bunny Yeager Photo Gallery Then and Now
  • Bonus: The Maid & Date With Paige


See the main commentary

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews online

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film package is a C-, of interest only to aficionados of Bettie Page and, of course, Dukey Flyswatter.

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