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I was re-watching this bad film classic from 1970 and my only explanation from this what were they thinking disaster is drugs.  There seems to be too much of Mae West, that yes is Hollywood icon but by then she was not a box office attraction- were they trying to attract an older audience by casting her ?  The scene in which Mrya rapes Rusty is played both a horror film- (all those lightning flashes) In the book the scene is erotic- (the violation of straight men must have been one of Vidal's favorite fantasies- it turns up again in "Caligula) In the movie it's neither shocking or sexy- it's just ridiculous like most of the film

 

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"Too much Mae West" was Raquel's opinion too. From what I can tell, the director made one bad decision after another, the first being hiring Rex Reed and the last being allowing Mae to be a Queen Bee throughout production. 

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6 hours ago, TopBilled said:

TCM aired this film two years ago.

I didn't watch it. But yes it has a certain reputation.

The movie is worth watching at least once- it's jut too bizarre

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6 hours ago, LuckyDan said:

"Too much Mae West" was Raquel's opinion too. From what I can tell, the director made one bad decision after another, the first being hiring Rex Reed and the last being allowing Mae to be a Queen Bee throughout production. 

Rex Reed is not bad - well at least he looks pretty.  Welch is good too - but she doesn't seem to know how to play Myra- well at least she changes costumes in every scene.  West was cast because at that time she had become an idol of the counter culture who must have discovered her early  films in which she was both sexy and funny.  The problem is that having a 76 year old lusting after young men is just weird.   John Huston comes out even worse having to play a lot of his scenes naked.   Sarne must have wanted to shock but most of his visuals have not aged well.

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Raquel was part of the commentary track in the DVD as well. One thing which really stood out for me was that Raquel signed with the understanding that she would play both Myron and Myra, which I think is vastly to her credit; somewhere along the line she was betrayed. I have to confess to having developed a growing respect for the film over the years. I agree that Mae had too much screen time, but otherwise she fit right in. Mae was angling for cultural relevance even before this movie; she recorded covers of "groovy" 60's songs (like The Doors' "Light My Fire" and Otis Redding's "Hard to Handle") for an album that was hysterical at the time and even more so today. As Letitia said to Myra in the film: "You have all the kinky angles that are in right now", which also describes what the film itself was going for stylistically. I particularly love the use of classic film snippets from the Fox library. Some of the producers of the "psychedelic" light shows accompanying some rock performances in the late 60's incorporated film clips along with the colorful projected imagery to punctuate certain songs, and I think Sarne borrowed from that. The film itself is basically a cartoon along the lines of something like The Girl Can't Help It, as were some of Myra's contemporaries like The Magic Christian and Candy. It was probably the only sensible approach to trying to bring Vidal's book to the screen, though it meant that some of Vidal's intellectual underpinnings would be lost. Some of that survived  in Myra's classroom scenes and her demagogic commitment to her "theories" dovetailed perfectly with the atmosphere of Buck Loner's looney-tunes dramatic academy. (John Huston is genius in that role, I think.) The weakest link, in my opinion, is Rex Reed, who was so disengaged (and frankly bored) that he totally disrupted every scene he was in. He was the one humorless element in a movie that relied on humor to put itself across. I give the movie an A for effort. It was definitely a product of its time, but one which also has stood the test of time. There are a number of films from around the same time which went for the "kinky angles that are in right now" which are basically unwatchable today, but Myra Breckinridge isn't one of them.                                                     

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15 hours ago, DougieB said:

Raquel was part of the commentary track in the DVD as well. One thing which really stood out for me was that Raquel signed with the understanding that she would play both Myron and Myra, which I think is vastly to her credit; somewhere along the line she was betrayed. I have to confess to having developed a growing respect for the film over the years. I agree that Mae had too much screen time, but otherwise she fit right in. Mae was angling for cultural relevance even before this movie; she recorded covers of "groovy" 60's songs (like The Doors' "Light My Fire" and Otis Redding's "Hard to Handle") for an album that was hysterical at the time and even more so today. As Letitia said to Myra in the film: "You have all the kinky angles that are in right now", which also describes what the film itself was going for stylistically. I particularly love the use of classic film snippets from the Fox library. Some of the producers of the "psychedelic" light shows accompanying some rock performances in the late 60's incorporated film clips along with the colorful projected imagery to punctuate certain songs, and I think Sarne borrowed from that. The film itself is basically a cartoon along the lines of something like The Girl Can't Help It, as were some of Myra's contemporaries like The Magic Christian and Candy. It was probably the only sensible approach to trying to bring Vidal's book to the screen, though it meant that some of Vidal's intellectual underpinnings would be lost. Some of that survived  in Myra's classroom scenes and her demagogic commitment to her "theories" dovetailed perfectly with the atmosphere of Buck Loner's looney-tunes dramatic academy. (John Huston is genius in that role, I think.) The weakest link, in my opinion, is Rex Reed, who was so disengaged (and frankly bored) that he totally disrupted every scene he was in. He was the one humorless element in a movie that relied on humor to put itself across. I give the movie an A for effort. It was definitely a product of its time, but one which also has stood the test of time. There are a number of films from around the same time which went for the "kinky angles that are in right now" which are basically unwatchable today, but Myra Breckinridge isn't one of them.                                                     

It was going to take a lot of body make up and special effects to turn Raquel Welch into Myron.   I think you are right the film is a live action cartoon- you can see that from the opening scene. Reed does look bore but I'm not sure why he is even in the film after the opening scene- except to makes wise cracks which are not very funny.    And yes Myra B is still very watchable is too outrageous to be boring

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20 hours ago, jaragon said:

It was going to take a lot of body make up and special effects to turn Raquel Welch into Myron.   I think you are right the film is a live action cartoon- you can see that from the opening scene. Reed does look bore but I'm not sure why he is even in the film after the opening scene- except to makes wise cracks which are not very funny.    And yes Myra B is still very watchable is too outrageous to be boring

I think they wanted the Myron character to be a kind of phantom presence, a visual reminder of Myra's commitment to "realigning the sexes".  In Vidal's follow-up book, Myron, Myra and Myron actually compete for space in the same body. (Myron has returned to "their" body, now neutered, after the accident at the end of the first book.) Myra and Myron are a schizophrenic hybrid; Myra represents Myron's unleashed latent megalomania and Myron represents the conservative path of restraint Myra never seems able to follow, at least in Vidal's vision. The moviemakers, as you mentioned, turned Myron into an alter-ego Greek chorus of wisecracks and lame commentary, and, to add insult to injury, cast a non-actor with a blase public persona who seemed to think his own name and face were all he needed to contribute. A lot of people point to Mae West as being the problematic casting choice, but I still think it's Rex Reed by a mile. 

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On 7/5/2021 at 8:50 AM, DougieB said:

I think they wanted the Myron character to be a kind of phantom presence, a visual reminder of Myra's commitment to "realigning the sexes".  In Vidal's follow-up book, Myron, Myra and Myron actually compete for space in the same body. (Myron has returned to "their" body, now neutered, after the accident at the end of the first book.) Myra and Myron are a schizophrenic hybrid; Myra represents Myron's unleashed latent megalomania and Myron represents the conservative path of restraint Myra never seems able to follow, at least in Vidal's vision. The moviemakers, as you mentioned, turned Myron into an alter-ego Greek chorus of wisecracks and lame commentary, and, to add insult to injury, cast a non-actor with a blase public persona who seemed to think his own name and face were all he needed to contribute. A lot of people point to Mae West as being the problematic casting choice, but I still think it's Rex Reed by a mile. 

You might be right about Reed's blase persona not working for the film. 

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A rather long time ago, I saw Myra Breckinridge @ a midnight showing in New York.  The audience went delirious--laughing, yelling and, in general, just having a blast.  It has to be one of my best theater experiences ever, outside of maybe Cabaret or Psycho!

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21 hours ago, don96 said:

A rather long time ago, I saw Myra Breckinridge @ a midnight showing in New York.  The audience went delirious--laughing, yelling and, in general, just having a blast.  It has to be one of my best theater experiences ever, outside of maybe Cabaret or Psycho!

That's absolutely the spirit in which it should be watched. No analysis will give the kind of pleasure which simply surrendering to it will.

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