Thursday, August 03, 2006

Overlooked Films Myra Breckenridge

"I am Myra Breckinridge whom no man will ever possess. Clad only in garter belt and one dress shield, I held off the entire elite of the Trobriand Islanders, a race who possess no words for 'why' or 'because'. Wielding a stone axe, I broke the arms, the limbs, the balls of their finest warriors, my beauty blinding them as it does all men, unmanning them in the way King Kong was reduced to a mere simian whimper by beauteous Fay Wray whom I resemble left three-quarter profile if the key light is no more than five feet high during the close shot." ~From Myra Breckenridge by Gore Vidal Chapter 1

Sprung from a novel by Gore Vidal, Myra tells the tender tale of a man (Rex Reed) who has a sex-change operation and goes to Hollywood as a woman--played by Raquel Welch. Mae West creaked out of retirement to play a man-hungry agent (one of her meals is young Tom Selleck), and John Huston is an aging cowboy star, Myra's nemesis. To say the movie endorses the destruction of sex roles in modern society would be giving the rampant incoherence too much credit. Old film clips, plus footage (all too apt!) of atomic bomb tests are spliced into the action, to puerile effect. Almost everybody involved with the film disowned it, especially a horrified Vidal. ...Shows what they know this movie is great! Bad but great!

Everything you heard about Myra Breckinridge is true.
From the book that couldn't be written comes the motion picture that couldn't be made!
Weird. Wild. Sexy. Strange.

Fun Trivia:
Mae West insisted that her character's name (Leticia) be spelled differently than it was in the book (Letitia) citing "the obvious reasons".

Rex Reed originally refused to say the line, "Where are my tits? Where are my tits?". However, the producers informed him that if he didn't say the line, they would use an establishing shot with a voice impressionist yelling "WHERE ARE MY TITS? WHERE ARE MY TITS?". He reluctantly agreed to say the line.

Trailers include many alternate takes, and one additional snippet of dialogue; In the hospital at the end, Myron asks the doctor if he's a boy or a girl, and the doctor says that he can't tell from where he's standing.

In a book about the making of the film, producer David Giler said that he came to the set one day to find out why filming was so far behind schedule and discovered that the entire cast and crew had been kept sitting around most of the day (on full salary) while director Michael Sarne photographed a cake... for eight hours. He was also told by cast and crewmembers that Sarne would go off in a corner and "think" for six to seven hours at a stretch, during which time shooting would come to a standstill. According to Giler, such antics were one of the reasons the film went so far over budget, and he and the other producers demanded that the studio fire him, but it was in Sarne's contract that he could not be fired until he turned in the first cut.

Fun Quotes:
Myron:It's a dangerous thing, ambition. Ruined Mickey Mouse's whole career.

[at Myron's sex-change operation]
Surgeon: We'll have to blow up your tits with silicon.
Myron: I thought they used paraffin.
Surgeon: No! That would make them inflammable! You don't want inflammable tits, now, do you?

Rusty Godowsky: What are you gonna do?
Myra Breckinridge: I shall ball you Rusty. It's very simple.

Myra: I am Myra Breckinridge, whom no man will ever possess. The new woman whose astonishing history started with a surgeon's scalpel, and will end... who-knows-where. Just as Eve was born from Adam's rib, so Myron died to give birth to Myra. Did Myron take his own life, you will ask? Yes, and no, is my answer. Beyond that, my lips are sealed. Let it suffice for me to say that Myron is... with me, and that I am the fulfillment of all his dreams. Who is Myra Breckinridge? What is she? Myra Breckinridge is a dish, and don't you ever forget it, you motherfuckers - as the children say nowadays.

Myra: [after raping Rusty] Well, aren't you going to thank me for all the trouble I've taken?
Rusty Godowsky: Thank you, ma'am.

An onslaught of true classic of b-film cinema.

1 comment:

Wendel said...

Three years and NO comments.

WOW - this really WAS a bad film.

Saw it on video, and had heard about it for years (even have the Playboy Pictorial on it).

Another bit of trivial,

"Myra" has a bed scene with another unknown newcomer, Farrah Fawcett.

Ah, liberation of the early 70s.