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   2,088 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:
Just plain mean... 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 ... Letitia's Secretary (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:
This movie includes archival movie clips of films from the 1930s and 1940s.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:
Referenced in American Sexual Revolution (1971)See more »
Soundtrack:
Twinkle Twinkle Little StarSee more »

FAQ

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68 out of 112 people found the following review useful.
Just plain mean..., 11 July 2004
Author: Merwyn Grote (majikstl@aol.com) from St. Louis, Missouri

MYRA BRECKINRIDGE is one of those rare films that established its place in film history immediately. Praise for the film was absolutely nonexistent, even from the people involved in making it. This film was loathed from day one. While every now and then one will come across some maverick who will praise the film on philosophical grounds (aggressive feminism or the courage to tackle the issue of transgenderism), the film has not developed a cult following like some notorious flops do. It's not hailed as a misunderstood masterpiece like SCARFACE, or trotted out to be ridiculed as a camp classic like SHOWGIRLS.

Undoubtedly the reason is that the film, though outrageously awful, is not lovable, or even likable. MYRA BRECKINRIDGE is just plain mean. As a Hollywood satire it is cold-blooded and mean-spirited, but in a hollow pointless way. MYRA takes for granted that Hollywood is a corrupt town, but goes further to attack such beloved icons as Laurel and Hardy, Shirley Temple, Judy Garland and Gary Cooper. The film seems to imply that everything about Hollywood is by its very nature vile. It seems to think that there is something inherently courageous about mocking sacred cows, but doesn't supply a rationale for doing the mocking in the first place. The film is also viscously anti-American and anti-establishment and anti-this and anti-that, but all in a superficial, late-1960's, trendy way. Like CASINO ROYALE; SKI-DOO; I LOVE YOU, ALICE B. TOKLAS and other would-be hip epics, MYRA is a middle-aged vision of the hippy-dippy youth culture. It tries to embrace the very attitude that it belittles. But instead of being cheerfully self-mocking, MYRA makes no attempt to conceal its contempt for everything that comes within its grasp. MYRA BRECKINRIDGE has the humor of a bully; there's not a single moment of innocence in it. Its intentions aren't honorable. TIME magazine aptly described it as being "about as funny as a child molester," but it's not nearly as sympathetic.

For instance, poor Mae West bore the brunt of so much of the criticism aimed at the film, being described as looking like everything from an aging drag queen to a reanimated walking corpse. The octogenarian star obviously didn't know just how ridiculous she looked playing a lecherous talent agent lusting after men young enough to be her grandsons or even her great-grandsons. But, director Michael Sarne had to know, but he used her anyway. Why? Because, she apparently was the joke. Just like John Huston, John Carradine, Grady Sutton, Andy Devine and other veteran performers in the film, they are there only so the film can mock their age and use them to trash their film images. They are cast as smarmy self-parodies, as is Rex Reed, the arrogant, fey film critic, who is cast as just that in the film. But the real Reed, the celebrity hound, jet-setting, talk show gossip, can be charming in an obnoxiously funny way; but as Myron, Myra's alter ego, he is just obnoxious. Again, apparently for Sarne, Reed is the joke.

You watch MYRA BRECKINRIDGE and you don't see actors, you see victims. None more so than Raquel Welch. No one will ever accuse Welch of being a great actress, but it is a testament to her tenacity and her appeal that she survived this film and her career prospered. Being in almost every scene, Welch was front and center as a target for abuse aimed at the film, but to her credit, she gives a remarkably nuanced performance. Though, of course, centered between the scenery chewing Huston and the almost catatonic West, Welch doesn't have to do much to strike a good balance. Even so, she renders her horribly unfunny dialogue with a deadpan smirk, with just the hint of self-righteous glee that would do any James Bond villain proud. Legend has it that Welch was snubbed by a condescending West and subjected to repeated verbal abuse on the set by bumbling director Sarne, not to mention being featured in one degrading scene after another, making it all the more remarkable that she was able to give such a cool and collected performance.

The film's only intriguing element is trying to figure out just what the film's agenda is. The whole story is a fantasy fable, which should indicate that it has a moral to deliver, but what that might be is anybody's guess. With all of its talk about destroying "the last vestigial traces of traditional manhood from the race," it would seem to have a feminist axe to grind. But as a feminist, Myra is a monstrous figure, a sexual predator. Besides, Myra isn't a woman, rather she is a delusion of Myron, who presumably is a gay male. That might explain the male rape scene as well as the character's love/hate attitude toward the macho, seemingly straight, deadhead Rusty, but it doesn't explain his/her obsession for and the supposedly lesbian tryst with Farrah Fawcett's Mary Ann. The film is obsessed with sex, but can hardly be accused of being in favor of the sexual revolution; all the sex is treated as being, if not dirty, than at least perverse and degrading. Turning to Gore Vidal's original novel isn't of any help, because it is as confused and pointless as the movie.

And this is a rare movie that actually seems to hate movies. Not just movies as a business, but movies as part of the culture as well. The film itself is wall-to-wall arcane references to old movies, all of which director-screenwriter Sarne approaches with a seething disdain. He has raided the film vaults of 20th Century-Fox and peppered the film with snippets of old films, not as an homage or to provide a social commentary, but to mock the innocence of old Hollywood. How can an artist -- if you generously want to call Sarne that -- make a work of art if he already hates the very medium he is working in? The very effort is totally self-defeating.

MYRA BRECKINRIDGE doesn't seem to be in favor of anything other than being just nasty. It hates Hollywood, it hates America, it hates sex, it hates gays and straights and women and men and old people and young people and Laurel and Hardy and, well, you name it and it probably has a scene showing contempt for it. In a very sad and sorry way, MYRA BRECKINRIDGE may be the first punk manifesto, a celebration of pop culture nihilism.

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