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Myron Breckinridge is waiting for her sex-change operation while a stoned surgeon stumbles into the operating room. Before the drugged doctor begins Myron's operation, he counsels her. Myron persists and the doctor goes through with it. An enthusiastic audience observing the operation applauds the medical achievement and rises in a standing ovation. After the operation, Myron arrives in Hollywood as Myra while in the rest of the film Myron pops up from time to time as Myra's alter ego. Myra goes to an acting academy owned by her uncle, Buck Loner, a former cowboy star. The real reason for Myra's arrival is to claim her half of Uncle Buck's estate, which she says she's entitled to. Buck Loner stalls by giving her a job teaching the history of motion pictures. Buck Loner has several friends. One of them is Letitia Van Allen, an ancient Hollywood talent scout. The sex-starved septuagenarian runs an acting agency "for leading men only." Written by
Apparently pieced together from different takes, Myra's blouse collar alternately appears fully outside, partially inside/outside and fully outside her jacket during the scene in which she "depantses" Rusty in her office. See more »
[sings to himself]
A secret place known to none but me. And in my secret place, you can beg and torture me. I wouldn't tell you where to go. 'Cause in my secret place, secret place, a secret you know. Secret place, a secret you know.
[Surgeon enters to applause]
You realize, once we cut it off, it won't grow back. I mean, it isn't like hair, or fingernails, or toenails, you know.
What do you think I am, some kind of idiot? I know that!
Eh - how about circumcision? It'd be ...
[...] See more »
A fascinating, unhappy mess; but see it if you love movies
The book "Myra Breckinridge" is marvelous, and so is its nutty sequel "Myron" (which takes place on the set during the making of the Maria Montez movie "Siren of Atlantis" and, in its original published version, is a diatribe against censorship and finds new ways to use the name Rehnquist). The movie, a big flop in 1970, is not marvelous, but starts intriguingly and still has an aura of the forbidden about it (it was rated X; in 1970 that wasn't a liability, it could be a marketing scheme). The Fox Movie Channel showed the film recently in widescreen and I watched it (the latest in several viewings ) and I failed to notice exactly when it begins to unravel.
In spite of its ultimately depressing and sleazy tone, the movie does have some lovely things in it: the winking girl who pops up in various scenes throughout, Raquel Welch's game, amusing performance, an intriguing visual style, the usage of old movie clips to comment on the action in a meta-cinematic manner (my favorite is the brief glimpse of Marilyn Monroe in the unfinished "Something's Got To Give," a glimpse that could have been furthered), a bizarre underused supporting cast of excellent Old Hollywood character actors (Jim Backus, Kathleen Freeman, Grady Sutton, Andy Devine, John Carradine, etc.) and a short appearance by Genevieve Waite, the star of the director's previous, and only, hit film "Joanna." Waite is also the mother of Bijou Phillips and the ex-wife of John Phillips, of The Mamas and The Papas. (John Phillips wrote the song "A Secret Place" that was used in the film.) I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when the movie was being made. Rex Reed, one of the stars in the film, WAS a fly on the wall and wrote about the fiasco in Playboy magazine. Then he went on The Mike Douglas Show and gave out his Christmas list. To everyone who saw the movie "Myra Breckinridge" he gave a case of amnesia.
I agree with another comment here that the movie has finally caught up with its audience, but only if you know a little something about Old Hollywood and really love cinema.
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