This film has all the hallmarks of a classic cult movie – rated as the worst film ever made by some and yet so chock full of transgression and in-jokes that it can’t fail to arouse the support of those who admire its counter-cultural tone… It’s certainly confused a fair few since its release and frightened some others. Is there any point in watching Myra Breckinridge in 2014?
Based on the spitefully witty novel by Gore Vidal, who also wrote the initial treatments, the film ended up being directed by Michael Sarne from a script he co-wrote: it was the last feature he would ever get to make but I don’t know if Myra was completely to blame.
|John Huston, Mae West and Raquel|
Still, tiny steps… you probably have to read the book to make sense of the reasoning. Taken on its own merits, the plot – as in Myra’s plot – makes sense as a revenge on her Uncle’s money-grabbing exploitation of the gullible, but on a larger scale?
|Toni Basil, John Carradine and Rex Reed...discuss the deed.|
Buck’s school is a phoney, aimed at perpetuating the myths of the worst aspects of Hollywood and extending the stay of students as long as possible along with their fees of course.
There are many clips from older Hollywood films including a nice sample form the Welch “classic” 1,000,000 Years BC… which arrives just as Myra does: you think maybe this film is better than they say? But whilst the clips are obviously used more out or respect for a golden era of cinematic fantasy, they don’t always work and sometimes distract. It’s also interesting that a sequence of clips from one of Laurel and Hardy’s last features – Atoll K - not one of their best but still funnier than all of the original material in Myra..
|Laurel and Hardy protest...|
|Mae West and Tom Selleck|
And so the film goes as Uncle Buck has yet another massage at the hands of a variety of young masseurs, he brings in his own sleazy lawyers to disprove Myra’s claims and she outwits him at every turn.
Finally the film gets to the – sexual – point and Myra gives Rusty a “lesson” he’ll never forget. Revenge for a woman-kind taken for granted by “guys like him” or Myron/Myra getting their kicks? We’re not clear.
|Confused Myra loses the plot...|
|Toni Basil - "Oh Myron,you're not so fine..."|
Worth watching but too mean of spirit to qualify as genuine satire and too sexually violent to be a guilty pleasure, you can buy Myra on DVD from Amazon and others.