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Myra Breckinridge (1970)

R | | Comedy | 24 June 1970 (USA)
After undergoing gender reassignment surgery, an aspiring actress travels to Hollywood, where she also wants to make a claim on her wealthy uncle's estate.

Director:

Michael Sarne

Writers:

Gore Vidal (novel), Michael Sarne (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mae West ... Leticia
John Huston ... Buck Loner
Raquel Welch ... Myra Breckinridge
Rex Reed ... Young Man
Farrah Fawcett ... Mary Ann
Roger C. Carmel ... Dr. Montag
Roger Herren ... Rusty
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 Robert P. Lieb ... Charlie Flager, Sr. (as Robert Lieb)
Skip Ward ... Chance
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Storyline

Myron Breckinridge (Rex Reed) is waiting for his sex-change operation while a stoned surgeon stumbles into the operating room. Before the drugged doctor begins Myron's operation, he counsels him. 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 Breckinridge (Raquel Welch) while in the rest of this movie, Myron pops up from time to time as Myra's alter ego. Myra goes to an acting academy owned by her uncle, Buck Loner (John Huston), a former cowboy star. The real reason for Myra's arrival is to claim her half of Uncle Buck's estate, to which she says she's entitled. Buck Loner stalls by giving her a job teaching the history of motion pictures. Buck Loner has several friends. One of them is Leticia Van Allen (Mae West), an ancient Hollywood talent scout. The sex-starved septuagenarian runs an acting agency "for ... Written by alfiehitchie, RavenGlamDVDCollector ElectricLadyLand

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

MYRA BRECKINRIDGE is all woman...and something! See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Perhaps because he was passed over in favor of John Huston for role of Buck Loner, Mickey Rooney repeatedly lambasted this movie in interviews upon its release, claiming it was a disgrace to the motion picture industry. See more »

Goofs

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 »

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 ...
[...]
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Alternate Versions

"Special Edition" version on Fox DVD is slightly different:
  • The line "don't you ever forget it, you motherfuckers" is (awkwardly) re-dubbed to remove the bleep over "mother."
  • The movie clip used after Myron has an orgasm has changed from a war movie to a Laurel & Hardy bit, where Oliver Hardy has champagne sprayed in his face.
  • The entire scene with Myron waking up in the hospital is now black and white (this, says Michael Sarne, to make it clearer that the rest of the movie was a dream).
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Connections

Edited from All About Eve (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

America, I Love You
(uncredited)
Music by Archie Gottler
Lyrics by Edgar Leslie
Sung by Alice Faye
From Tin Pan Alley (1940)
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User Reviews

 
A fascinating, unhappy mess; but see it if you love movies
15 September 2005 | by jgeppersonSee all my reviews

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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

24 June 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gore Vidal's Myra Breckinridge See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,385,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (alternate)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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