4.3/10
2,498
89 user 36 critic

Myra Breckinridge (1970)

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 »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Sextette (1978)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.2/10 X  

On the day of her wedding to her sixth husband, a glamorous silver screen sex symbol is asked to intervene in a political dispute between nations, which leads to chaos.

Director: Ken Hughes
Stars: Mae West, Timothy Dalton, Dom DeLuise
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In the Gay Nineties, a seductive nightclub singer contends with several suitors, including a jealous escaped convict and a handsome temperance league member.

Director: Lowell Sherman
Stars: Mae West, Cary Grant, Owen Moore
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Baron Frankenstein creates two "zombies" - one male, one female - planning to mate them in order to create a master race.

Directors: Paul Morrissey, Antonio Margheriti
Stars: Joe Dallesandro, Udo Kier, Dalila Di Lazzaro
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The Disciples of James Dean meet up on the anniversary of his death and mull over their lives in the present and in flashback, revealing the truth behind their complicated lives. Who is the... See full summary »

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Cher, Karen Black, Sandy Dennis
Crime Wave (1953)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Reformed parolee Steve Lacey is caught in the middle when a wounded former cellmate seeks him out for shelter.

Director: André De Toth
Stars: Gene Nelson, Sterling Hayden, Phyllis Kirk
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

The Misandrists begins with Volker, a young man with an injured leg, stumbling through the forest, pursued by the police and their tracking dogs. When he emerges from the woods, he sees two... See full summary »

Director: Bruce La Bruce
Stars: Susanne Sachße, Viva Ruiz, Kembra Pfahler
Flareup (1969)
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

Psycho stalks go-go dancer from Las Vegas to L.A.

Director: James Neilson
Stars: Raquel Welch, James Stacy, Luke Askew
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A blind man moves into his own apartment against the wishes of his overprotective mother and befriends the freethinking young woman next door.

Director: Milton Katselas
Stars: Goldie Hawn, Edward Albert, Eileen Heckart
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

This film was Peter Bogdanovich's homage to musical comedies of the 1930s. A millionaire named Michael Oliver Pritchard III and a singer named Kitty O'Kelly meet and fall in love. Meanwhile... See full summary »

Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Stars: Burt Reynolds, Cybill Shepherd, Madeline Kahn
Xanadu (1980)
Fantasy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

A struggling artist living in Los Angeles meets a girl who may hold the key to his happiness.

Director: Robert Greenwald
Stars: Olivia Newton-John, Gene Kelly, Michael Beck
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

Robinson, Welch and some incompetent european gangsters kidnap an American gangster who they think has a lot of money.

Director: Ken Annakin
Stars: Vittorio De Sica, Raquel Welch, Robert Wagner
Coffy (1973)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A black nurse takes vigilante justice against inner-city drug dealers after her sister becomes their latest victim.

Director: Jack Hill
Stars: Pam Grier, Booker Bradshaw, Robert DoQui
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 Robert P. Lieb ... Charlie Flager Sr. (as Robert Lieb)
Skip Ward ... Chance
Edit

Storyline

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 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 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 alfiehitchie, RavenGlamDVDCollector ElectricLadyLand

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Everything you heard about Myra Breckinridge is true. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 June 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gore Vidal's Myra Breckinridge See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$3,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (alternate)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Jack Oakie was considered for the role of Buck Loner. See more »

Goofs

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 ...
[...]
See more »

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 has champagne sprayed in his face.
  • The entire scene with Myron waking up in the hospital is now black and white (this, says , to make it clearer that the rest of the movie was a dream).
See more »

Connections

Featured in Homo Promo (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue
(uncredited)
Music by Ray Henderson
[played during Leticia Van Allen's introduction]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Just plain mean...
11 July 2004 | by majikstlSee all my reviews

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.


79 of 130 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 89 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed