IMDb > Myra Breckinridge (1970)
Myra Breckinridge
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Myra Breckinridge (1970) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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4.2/10   2,069 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Gore Vidal (novel)
Michael Sarne (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Myra Breckinridge on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
24 June 1970 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Meet Myra Breckinridge. You'll Never Forget Her! See more »
Plot:
Myron Breckinridge is waiting for her sex-change operation while a stoned surgeon stumbles into the operating room... See more » | Full synopsis »
User Reviews:
A Cinematic Debacle of Legendary Proportions See more (81 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Mae West ... Leticia Van Allen

John Huston ... Buck Loner

Raquel Welch ... Myra Breckinridge
Rex Reed ... Myron

Farrah Fawcett ... Mary Ann Pringle

Roger C. Carmel ... Dr. Randolph Spencer Montag
Roger Herren ... Rusty Godowski

George Furth ... Charlie Flager Jr.

Calvin Lockhart ... Irving Amadeus

Jim Backus ... Doctor

John Carradine ... Surgeon

Andy Devine ... Coyote Bill
Grady Sutton ... Kid Barlow
Robert P. Lieb ... Charlie Flager Sr. (as Robert Lieb)
Skip Ward ... Chance

Kathleen Freeman ... Bobby Dean Loner
B.S. Pully ... Tex
Buck Kartalian ... Jeff
Monte Landis ... Vince (as Monty Landis)

Tom Selleck ... Stud
Peter Ireland ... Student
Nelson Sardelli ... Mario
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Cal Bartlett ... Acting School Student (uncredited)

Toni Basil ... Cigarette Girl (uncredited)

Thordis Brandt ... Whip-Cracking Masseuse (uncredited)
Choo Choo Collins ... Party Guest (uncredited)

Dan Hedaya ... Patient in Hospital Ward (uncredited)

William Hopper ... Judge Frederic D. Cannon (uncredited)
Ethelreda Leopold ... Bridge Party Guest (uncredited)
Luanne Roberts ... Painted breasts girl at party (uncredited)
Miel Saan ... (uncredited)
Michael Sarne ... Acting School Student (uncredited)
Michael Stearns ... Stud (uncredited)
Svetlana ... Extra (uncredited)
Geneviève Waïte ... Dental Patient (uncredited)

Directed by
Michael Sarne 
 
Writing credits
Gore Vidal (novel)

Michael Sarne (screenplay) and
David Giler (screenplay)

Produced by
James Cresson .... associate producer
Robert Fryer .... producer
David Giler .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
John Phillips 
 
Cinematography by
Richard Moore (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Danford B. Greene 
 
Art Direction by
Fred Harpman 
Jack Martin Smith 
 
Set Decoration by
Reg Allen 
Walter M. Scott 
 
Costume Design by
Theadora Van Runkle 
 
Makeup Department
Del Acevedo .... makeup artist
Edith Lindon .... hair stylist
Daniel C. Striepeke .... makeup supervisor (as Dan Striepeke)
 
Production Management
William Eckhardt .... unit production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Richard Glassman .... assistant director (as Dick Glassman)
 
Art Department
Greg C. Jensen .... set constructor (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Don J. Bassman .... sound (as Don Bassman)
David Dockendorf .... sound (as Dave Dockendorf)
Terrance Emerson .... sound utility (uncredited)
 
Visual Effects by
L.B. Abbott .... special photographic effects
Art Cruickshank .... special photographic effects
 
Stunts
Donna Garrett .... stunts (uncredited)
Russ McCubbin .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Thomas Del Ruth .... assistant camera (uncredited)
 
Casting Department
Michael McLean .... casting supervisor
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Edith Head .... costumes: Miss Mae West
 
Editorial Department
Hugh K. Cummings .... co-film editor
 
Music Department
Jeff Alexander .... orchestrator
Jack Elliott .... orchestrator
Allyn Ferguson .... orchestrator
Lyn Murray .... orchestrator
Lionel Newman .... conductor
Lionel Newman .... music supervisor
 
Transportation Department
Chris Haynes .... driver (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Ralph Beaumont .... choreographer
Don Prince .... unit publicist
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Gore Vidal's Myra Breckinridge" - USA (complete title)
See more »
Runtime:
94 min | Spain:91 min (alternate version)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Certification:
Australia:M | Canada:PA (Manitoba) | Canada:R (Nova Scotia/Ontario) | Finland:K-16 | Germany:12 (re-rating) (2006) | New Zealand:R18 | UK:18 | USA:X (original rating) | USA:R (edited for re-rating) (1978) | West Germany:18 (original rating)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The statue of the twirling Las Vegas showgirl outside of Chateau Marmont hotel where Myra Breckinridge stayed (and was the model for Raquel Welch's publicity shots) was pulled out of storage for the movie; the actual statue during its heyday can be seen in the early Sixties films The Stripper (1963) and The Savage Eye (1960).See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: When Myra begins preparations to trace Rusty's spine, she uses a buckled strap to keep him from moving - yet strap becomes considerably longer between shot where she anchors his left wrist and shot where she tightens strap on his right wrist.See more »
Quotes:
[first lines]
Myron:[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]
Surgeon: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.
Myron:What do you think I am, some kind of idiot? I know that!
Surgeon:[shrugs] Eh - how about circumcision? It'd be cheaper.
Myron:Come on, come on, come on, let's get it over with, Myra's waiting!
[...]
See more »
Movie Connections:
References How Green Was My Valley (1941)See more »
Soundtrack:
Secret PlaceSee more »

FAQ

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39 out of 54 people found the following review useful.
A Cinematic Debacle of Legendary Proportions, 28 March 2005
Author: gftbiloxi (gftbiloxi@yahoo.com) from Biloxi, Mississippi

Seldom seen since theatrical release in 1970, MYRA BRECKINRIDGE has become a byword for cinematic debacles of legendary proportions. Now at last on DVD in an unexpectedly handsome package, it is as unlikely to win wide audiences today as it was when first released.

Gore Vidal's 1968 bestseller was a darkly satirical statement. Most filmmakers felt that the novel's story, structure, and overall tone would not translate to film, and industry insiders were surprised when 20th Century Fox not only acquired the rights but also hired Vidal to adapt his novel to the screen. But studio executives soon had cold feet: Vidal's adaptations were repeatedly rejected and novice writer-director Michael Sarne was brought in to bring the film to the screen.

Studio executives hoped that Sarne would tap into the youth market they saw as a target for the film, but Sarne proved even more out of synch with the material than the executives themselves. Rewrite upon rewrite followed. The cast, sensing disaster, became increasingly combative. In her DVD commentary, star Raquel Welch says that she seldom had any idea of what Myra's motives were from scene to scene or even within any single scene itself, and that each person involved seemed to be making an entirely different film. In the accompanying "Back Story" documentary, Rex Reed says that MYRA BRECKINRIDGE was a film made by a bunch of people who hid in their dressing rooms while waiting for their lawyers to return their calls.

The accuracy of these comments are demonstrated by the film itself. The basics of Vidal's story are there, but not only has the story been shorn of all broader implications, it seems to have no point in and of itself. Everything runs off in multiple directions, nothing connects, and numerous scenes undercut whatever logic previous scenes might have had. And while director Sarne repeatedly states in his commentary that he wanted to make the film as pure farce, the only laughs generated are accidental.

Chief among these accidents is Mae West. It is true that West is unexpectedly well preserved in appearance and that she had lost none of her way with a one-liner--but there is no getting around the fact that she is in her seventies, and her conviction that she is the still the sexiest trick in shoe leather is extremely unsettling, to say the least. But worse, really, is the fact that West is outside her era. Her efforts to translate herself into a hip and happening persona results in one of the most embarrassing self-caricatures ever seen on film.

The remaining cast is largely wasted. Raquel Welch, a significantly underestimated actress, plays the title role of Myra very much like a Barbie doll on steroids; non-actor Rex Reed is unexpectedly effective in the role of Myron, but the entire role is essentially without point. Only John Huston and cameo players John Carradine, Jim Backus, William Hopper, and Andy Devine emerge relatively unscathed. Yes, it really is the debacle everyone involved in the film feared it would be: fast when it should be slow, slow when it should be fast, relentlessly unfunny from start to finish. It is true that director Sarne does have the occasional inspired idea--as in his use of film clips of everyone from Shirley Temple to Judy Garland to create counterpoint to the action--but by and large, whenever Sarne was presented with a choice of how to do something he seems to have made the wrong one.

The how and why of that is made clear in Sarne's audio commentary. Sarne did not like the novel or, for that matter, the subject matter in general. He did not want to write the screenplay, but he needed the money; he emphatically did not want to direct the film, but he need the money. He makes it very clear that he disliked author Gore Vidal and Rex Reed (at one point he flatly states that Reed "is not a nice person"), and to this day he considers that Vidal and Reed worked in tandem to sabotage the film because he refused to play into their 'homosexual agenda'--which, when you come right down to it, seems to have been their desire that Sarne actually film Vidal's novel rather than his own weirdly imagined take-off on it.

Although he spends a fair amount of commentary time stating that the film is widely liked by the gay community, Sarne never quite seems to understand that the appeal of the film for a gay audience arises from his ridiculously inaccurate depiction of homosexual people. When taken in tandem with the film itself, Sarne emerges as more than a little homophobic--and quite frankly the single worst choice of writers and directors that could have been made for this project.

In addition to the Sarne and Welch commentaries and the making-of documentary, the DVD release includes several trailers and two versions of the film: a "theatrical release" version and a "restored" version. The only difference between the two is that the final scene in the "restored" version has been printed to black and white. The edits made before the film went into general release have not been restored, but the documentary details what they were. The widescreen transfers of both are remarkably good and the sound is quite fine. But to end where I began, this is indeed a film that will most interest film historians, movie buffs, and cult movie fans. I give it three out of five stars for their sake alone, but everyone else should pass it by.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer

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