X-Rated Alley: The Exotic Dances of Bettie Page [Blu-Ray], 42nd Street Forever: The Peep Show Collection Vol. 19 (DVD)

In case you missed it, here’s what has happened so far in “The Peepshow Collection” movie series: The first nineteen volumes were filled with a lot of adult porn performers having sex, and engaging in general sexual acts. The next volumes will likely have those events unfold, too. Now that you’re caught up, for folks that value this kind of nostalgia and once thought lost series of stag films and porn theater shorts, “42nd Street Forever: The Peep Show Collection Vol. 19” from Impulse Pictures is back to the basics once again. As always the volume, which clocks in at almost two hours, is split in to man on girl, girl on girl, and basic shorts with orgies, threesomes and the like.

These shorts are raw and uncensored stag films in the age of film projectors, so they have no sound and run about ten minutes a piece. There’s something a lot more appealing with older porn that featured actresses that were often untouched by surgery, and about as natural as they could possibly be. There’s too much artifice in modern pornography, so if you seek a break from that kind of material, this collection offers up some shorts by classic porn stars that are still widely celebrated and ogled by many. There are shorts here featuring Linda Shaw and the great Vanessa Del Rio and Seka.

Some of the best shorts in the play list include “Lesbian Lust,” “Games People Play,” and “Video Games” where a gent films himself having sex with two gorgeous women. The DVD comes with another really fun essay by porn archaeologist Dimitrios Otis who pens “Porn Loops are the Great Leveler” in which is he examines how major porn stars, most of the time the fantasies normal people, and normal participants of porn hired to have sex with them are given significant social balance on-screen, and either stumble in to having sex with icons like John Holmes, or are faced with the shocking pressure of being on screen with sexy vixens like Seka.

Next there’s “The Exotic Dances of Bettie Page” from Cult Epics, a brand new Blu-Ray filled with Bettie Page’s elusive erotic shorts, as curated by Nico B. There were tons of cheesecake models and pin ups in the sixties, but Bettie Page has always had that particular charm and power to her that continues to inspire women and men of all kinds. She’s become something of an icon and mascot for liberation, sexual power, and so much more. She’s something of the alternative Marilyn Monroe who continues to be studied and explored by all kinds of pop culture and erotica enthusiasts alike, and her movies, however tame they are, still present a danger and boldness to them that is impossible to resist. There’s also an interesting dynamic in most of her shorts, where the dangerous and viciously sexy and charismatic Page fools around with elements typically considered innocent.

“Bettie’s Clown Dance” features her sexually dancing around with a Clown doll, grinning from ear to ear. There’s also “Peppy Graceful Dance” where she dances with a man’s fedora hat, and jives to music like a sock hopper. Page was around during a time where porn and adult entertainment of all kinds was considered illegal and despicable, and Page celebrated her sexuality on screen ten fold. She seemed to challenge conventions in a time where women were expected to be subservient and be at home caring for kids and home.

Though she’s examined as something of a conservative woman and a religiously devout one, her sexuality on screen indicates someone who was never afraid to express her sexual appetite. She also seemingly never considered ideas like fetishes and domination as a defiant gesture to her religious beliefs, or moral ideals. Acclaimed Nico B brings collectors and fans a slew of more black and white Bettie Page shorts directed by Irving Klaw that are restored and given a brand new soundtrack.

There’s “Return of the Teaser Girl”, “Bettie’s Clown Dance” Parts One and Two, “Flirtatious Dance By Bettie”, “Peppy Graceful Dance”, “Bettie Waltzing in Satin Scanties”, “Tambourine Dance”, “Joyful Dance By Bettie”, “Bettie’s Hat Dance”, “Dream Dance By Bettie”, and “Betty’s Lingerie Tease Dance” Part Two (no Part One). There are also four bonus “Kamera Klub” shorts featuring Page: “Bettie Page Nude”, “Bettie Page in Black Lingerie”, “…White Lingerie”, and “…Red Lingerie.”

Featured in the Collector’s Blu-Ray is the “Irving Klaw Photo Video Gallery” which is mostly bondage material with Bettie tied up and gagged. There’s also “Bettie Page Uncovered: The Private Life & Photographs,” a twenty two minute segment with Page’s nephew Ron Brem who visits an exhibit of Page’s work. Brem allows audiences a glimpse at his aunt and mom Goldie’s work, and there’s a fun but brief Q&A who discusses his family gatherings and memories of aunt Bettie. Featured in the liner notes is a pretty in depth bio of Bettie Page, a play list of the short films, and an essay by Cult Epics Founder Nico B. who discusses his admiration for Page, and restoring her short films.