The Christian Faith of Pin-up Betty Page

The New York Daily News has a feature on the buzz-generating new film about the famous pinup girl Betty Page, starring Gretchen Mol.

And finally someone has noted whether or not The Notorious Betty Page deals with the fact that Page’s Christian faith played, and continues to play, a major role in her life. (I linked to another article a few weeks ago that addressed Page’s current professions of faith, but now we know that aspect of her life made it into the film.)

A life-long Baptist, Page has never disavowed her modeling career and has been pleased to be recognized even when evangelizing as a lay preacher. In a March 2006 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Page said, “Being in the nude isn’t a disgrace unless you’re being promiscuous about it.” Yet her girlhood was extremely harsh: she was molested by her father and sexually assault by two strangers.

Neither Mol nor Harron share Page’s faith, but they do express it in the film: “The church is where she turned in her darkest times,” says Mol. “From the time she was a child, she felt this: When you’re down, you can look to Jesus, and that’s where she turned after she was raped. Not to her mother, not to a friend. She couldn’t tell anybody. She could not make sense of what had happened.”

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.

  • RC

    This is very interesting, I had not yet heard of this film or (of course)it’s religious tie ins.

    –RC of