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  Myra Breckinridge Hooray For Hollywood
Year: 1970
Director: Michael Sarne
Stars: Raquel Welch, Mae West, John Huston, Rex Reed, Roger Herren, Farrah Fawcett, Roger C. Carmel, Calvin Lockhart, Andy Devine, Grady Sutton, John Carradine, Tom Selleck, Jim Backus, Kathleen Freeman
Genre: Comedy, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: After Myron Breckinridge (Rex Reed) has a sex change to turn himself into Myra (Raquel Welch), he/she sets out to get revenge on the American men in general by infiltrating Hollywood through his/her uncle's talent school.

Adapted from Gore Vidal's novel by David Giler and director Mike Sarne, Myra Breckinridge was, notoriously, a complete disaster, garnering some of the worst reviews of all time and a reputation for being legendarily awful. But is it really? Is this terrible distinction entirely justified? Well, yeah, of course it is.

Setting out to be a satire on American morality, the film descends into contemptuous jeering from the first scene, where surgeon John Carradine prepares to operate on Reed with an audience in attendance. When the conservative characters are deriding modern movies for being too vulgar and smutty, this is obviously the film they're talking about.

The action is continuously interrupted by old film clips that comment on the proceedings, featuring past stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Peter Lorre, Shirley Temple and Carmen Miranda. One of those past stars actually has a role in this: Mae West herself, drawling her way through the double entendres. It should tell you a lot about the whole misguided enterprise that seventy-seven year old Mae gets more sex than anyone else in the film (offscreen, fortunately).

Myra's attack on American manhood resolves itself when she/he anally rapes young stud Rusty (Roger Herren) and later beds his girlfriend (Farrah Fawcett). Quite what this proves is difficult to fathom. There's no wit or insight to the satire, it's simply sneering and sarcastic. The acting is affected (especially Raquel's) and the dialogue is thuddingly pretentious.

However, if it's bad taste you're looking for, then Myra Breckinridge has it in tons with that queasy "watching a car accident" appeal. You can hardly believe they thought this would be a hit, and for that reason it has a strange fascination. Watch for: Mae West's big musical number in the nightclub, possibly the worst of all time. Music by Lionel Newman and John Phillips.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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