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Myra Breckinridge

77 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Mar 09, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Raquel Welch, Mae West, Rex Reed, Farrah Fawcett. The controversial, comedic tale of a gay man who has a sex-change operation in order to bilk his rich uncle out of his fortune. 1970/color/94 min/R/fullscreen.

We can safely call it one of the most notorious films in Hollywood history: Myra Breckenridge, the wild, tasteless, legendary disaster. Sprung from a novel by Gore Vidal, Myra tells the tender tale of a man (damply played by film critic 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. Is there a cult for this movie? They can have it. --Robert Horton

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Special Features

  • Includes theatrical and special edition versions of the movie
  • Commentary by director Michael Sarne (special edition)
  • Commentary by Raquel Welch (theatrical version)
  • AMC Backstory
  • Trailers and TV spots

Product Details

  • Actors: Mae West, John Huston, Raquel Welch, Rex Reed, Farrah Fawcett
  • Directors: Michael Sarne
  • Writers: Michael Sarne, David Giler, Gore Vidal
  • Producers: David Giler, James Cresson, Robert Fryer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: March 9, 2004
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00018D3YQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,214 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Myra Breckinridge" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

114 of 125 people found the following review helpful By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 20, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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 will be of interest to film historians, movie buffs, and cult film fans--but 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 on American hypocrisy, Hollywood fantasies, and changing sexual mores. 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 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.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By James Morris on October 27, 2006
Format: DVD
Gore Vidal's hilariously funny satiric novel was more or less transferred to the silver screen with a good deal of the story intact, but thanks to the hopeless mess made of the screenplay by the director, Michael Sarne, none of it makes a great deal of sense. Still, the film has lots going for it. I believe it was unmercifully and unfairly savaged by the critics as much for its revolutionary queer message as for its failures as a narrative. Myra is not only a transsexual (Myra was filmed only a few years after the world's first sex-change operations made headlines) but her self-proclaimed mission is to "realign the sexes" by turning macho heterosexual boys into homosexuals - her way of saving the world from over-population. No wonder the critics ran from the theatres, covering their crotches as they fled! Myra is shrewd, witty, beautiful, talented, intelligent AND she is a woman who used to be a man - in short, she was everything that queer / transgender people were NOT supposed to be in 1970. I happen to think that Raquel Welch gave the comic performance of her (early) career in this movie. Sarne had the presence of mind to insert old film clips as a running commentary on the plot (signifying Myra's obsession with classic films) and that portion of his vision was sheer genius. The film clips work just fine, providing many of the laughs. Each time a perfectly innocent film clip was used as a commentary to the high jinks in this movie, it usually yielded an extremely funny but admittedly tasteless moment. For instance, then President Richard Nixon reportedly had the studio delete a clip showing Shirley Temple milking a goat and getting sprayed in the face with milk. What's so bad about that?Read more ›
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58 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Usonian33 on February 20, 2004
Format: DVD
WHAT?! The uncut version?! And in widescreen?! With Raquel's commentary and that fantastic AMC documentary?!
The DVD gods have truly delivered. The only thing left to hope for is the lost reels of "The Magnificent Ambersons."
So many "bad movies" fail to really live up to their reputations. This movie delivers. Originally rated "X", it is in excruciatingly poor taste (two words: Mae West), and would be offensive if it weren't oh so very, very terrible.
Twentieth Century Fox actually made and distributed this film, which has since been very difficult to find. Watch the documentary first, to fully appreciate what you are witnessing.
I have only seen the cut version on the Fox Movie Channel, and even that version has the scene with Raquel strapping on the...well, I'll let you found out that detail for yourself.
Gather your friends around, and enjoy one of the great cinema bombs. (then hold a candlelight vigil that Fox will release that OTHER X-rated studio classic in their vaults: "Beyond The Valley of The Dolls").
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By James Loewen on May 28, 2006
Format: DVD
"I am Myra Breckinridge whom no man will ever possess..." So began our literary introduction to one of the most remarkable characters ever invented. Gore Vidal's dark and twisted tale of a Hollywood-inspired beauty and her plan to upset the patriarchy, realign the sexes and restore the balance of power was spiritual nourishment of divine order to the sexual revolution of the late nineteen-sixties. Vidal's Myra revealed her personal thoughts and wry observations about society and sex in such an intimate manner on the page that she was soon inside the reader's head and taking us on the wildest of rides.

In the late sixties when news of the filming began, fans of the book wondered how such an outrageous story would translate to film. Foremost in people's minds was the lengthy and very graphic scene of Myra's sexual exploration and rape of a handsome young man.

The advance publicity for Myra the film heralded a glamorous Hollywood treatment with pop casting of the highest and somewhat surreal order. Raquel Welch, the leading sex symbol of the day would portray Myra. The ever provocative Mae West, the goddess of sex herself was signed to play Leticia Van Allen, a talent agent for men and Myra's newfound buddy. Oddly, real life film critic Rex Reed would portray [...] film critic Myron. Filming was troubled; the main problem was director Mike Sarne. Vidal has suggested that the director of a film is almost unnecessary when everyone else does their job, and one can imagine Myra a far better film had Sarne been fired and the actors and cameraman carried on without him.

For the uninitiated this film can only be confusing and hard to follow. Entire chunks of the script were not filmed, or left on the cutting room floor leaving the viewer to guess what happened.
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