Bettie Page: Varietease/Teaserma
Pinup icon Bettie Page made two of her rare feature-film appearances in this pair of burlesque films, both directed by famous girlie photographer Irving Klaw (who also lensed a number of legendary underground bondage reels staring Ms. Page). While both Varietease and Teaserama have previously been available on individual DVDs, Something Weird Video has paired up the two short features for this latest release. Both Varietease and Teaserama have been transferred to disc in their original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and while the source materials look just a bit worse for wear, with some noticeable scratches and speckling, the images are pin-sharp and the colors bright and vivid; in short, these films look quite good considering their vintage (though the video master for Teaserama shows a few minor flaws which confirm the films were not remastered for this release). The audio for both films is the original mono sound track, mastered over two channels in Dolby Digital Stereo, and the quality is good if not exceptional. As a bonus, both films include a commentary track featuring legendary exploitation maven and burlesque aficionado David F. Friedman and Something Weird founder Mike Vraney, and while there's some overlap over the two commentaries in what they have to say, they're both entertaining, and Friedman offers all manner of inside scoop. Something Weird have also included some other bonus materials -- two scenes featuring Bettie Page from another burlesque feature, Striporama (the rarity of the material -- which includes a comedy sketch in which Page speaks on-camera for the only time -- compensates for the poor quality of the source footage), and a rare arcade loop in which she undresses and dances. Rounding out the set is a slide show of rare nudie-cutie press materials accompanied by radio spots. Fans of the enigmatic Bettie Page will be pleased to see two of her feature films made available on one disc (alongside such burlesque stars as Tempest Storm and Lili St. Cyr), and the package offers good value for money, though folks who brought the previous two DVDs probably won't need to upgrade to this one.