Myra Breckinridge (1970)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

This uneven film is taken from the novel by Gore Vidal. This book is an amusing story about sexual transformation, but despite an all-star cast, the film is a dismal failure. Myra (Raquel Welch) undergoes a sex change operation by two doctors (John Carradine and Jim Backus) and becomes a man (Rex Reed). This alone is enough to qualify as a horror film. Leticia (Mae West) is the lecherous theatrical agent who scouts talent at the acting school of Buck Loner (John Huston). West makes her first film appearance in 26 years. Farrah Fawcett play Mary Ann, who stirs the lesbian fantasies of Myra, and Tom Selleck is one of Leticia's serviceable studs. Myra makes love with Rusty (Roger Herren), his first amorous experience. Andy Devine, Calvin Lockhart, Roger C. Carmel and Kathleen Freeman also appear in this film. The thin plot find Myra seeking out Buck for an inheritance from a distant relative. William Hopper appears as a pot smoking judge. It would be decades before British director Michael Sarne would be given an assignment after this disaster. After appearing as an actor in a 1967 film, he went 25 years until his next film role, qualifying him as a true Hollywood enigma.
Classics , Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Raquel Welch
as Myra Breckinridge
Mae West
as Leticia
John Huston
as Buck Loner
Rex Reed (II)
as Myron Breckinridge
Farrah Fawcett
as Mary Ann
Roger C. Carmel
as Dr. Montag
George Furth
as Charlie Flager Jr.
Calvin Lockhart
as Irving Amadeus
Jim Backus
as Doctor
John Carradine
as Surgeon
Andy Devine
as Coyote Bill
Grady Sutton
as Kid Barlow
Robert P. Lieb
as Charlie Flager Sr.
Skip Ward
as Chance
Kathleen Freeman
as Bobby Dean Loner
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Myra Breckinridge

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (4)

One might appreciate Anthology's all-new print -- with its epic sets and costumes, slumming icons, and unfocused meta-ambitions -- as the queer precursor to Southland Tales.

Full Review… | March 23, 2008
Village Voice
Top Critic

The film version of Gore Vidal's Hollywood-themed transsexual satire starts off promisingly, but after a couple of reels plunges straight downhill under the weight of artless direction.

Full Review… | October 17, 2007
Top Critic

As an adaptation of Gore Vidal's novel, this is a major travesty.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Raquel Welch's big chance is snatched away by Sarne's careless and unprofessional direction, and Rex Reed's self-parody is much too pat and easy.

Full Review… | July 3, 2002
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

If you truly analyze this, it's a very bisexual scene, and it's a classic, and I was told by a film buff friend that it was considered an A-list movie at the time.

Full Review… | August 18, 2009
International Press Academy

Extravagantly tasteless, surprisingly inept filming of Gore Vidal's briefly notorious novel.

Full Review… | October 17, 2007
TV Guide

Audience Reviews for Myra Breckinridge


Just awful, disconnected scenes that add up to nothing. The clips from old films are the best part of this one.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

This is a really bad movie. The jokes don't work. It's about a guy who dreams he has a sex change operation and becomes Raquel Welch. She's the only reason to watch the movie. The subject matter of the story got the movie rated X in 1970. Today it's only rated R. It's the only movie that had Mae West, Raquel Welch, and Farrah Fawcett in the same movie. Mae West was in her late 70's and way too old for the part. It was like she was in a time warp and still playing the Mae West character from the 1930's. Farrah was young and wasn't famous yet. The story is based on a book by Gore Vidal. Even Gore Vidal thought this was a bad movie.

Donald White
Donald White

How can a sex farce starring Raquel Welch at her peak voluptuousness be so dull? This is like a porn flick with the porn edited out. An endless stream of set pieces that go nowhere. Myron Breckinridge (film critic Rex Reed) has an implausible sex change and re-emerges as gorgeous Myra (Welch). She blackmails her goofy uncle (director John Huston, embarrassing himself with an awful Slim Pickens impression) into giving her a faculty post at his bogus acting school/commune and, there, sets upon her vengeful quest to destroy the mythos of the American male. Or something. That's about where the plot's momentum grinds to a stop. Mae West creaks in with her dinosaur act, portraying an agent who's fixated on having sex with men a third of her age (including a young, moustache-less Tom Selleck). It's as if she's in her own separate movie. She probably agreed to appear on condition that she have top billing and be allowed to lead a song-and-dance number. And we're forced to sit through it. She and Welch have just one scene together, and their faces never appear in the same frame. Meanwhile, ingenue Farrah Fawcett also enters the story, pokes out her nipples everywhere yet still can't make the film interesting. Even a bedroom scene with Welch doesn't pay off. How is that possible? Repeated mentions of "balling" date the script, and further star cameos from Jim Backus, John Carradine and Andy Devine add nothing. The insertion of vintage movie clips (lots of Laurel and Hardy) mostly just pad out the running time and, in the end, the greatest pleasures are simply Welch's stylish costumes and game willingness to debase herself with references to orgasms, urine specimens and "motherfuckers." And, oh yes, there's her notorious anal-rape sequence. (Hint: She's not the one being raped.) What was the point of Toni Basil repeatedly turning up, just to chew gum like some stereotyped teen delinquent?

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

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