Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Monday, 14 March 2016

"Myra Breckinridge is all woman ... or something!"

Now let us turn to MYRA ... interesting to see that Russ Meyer's 1970 BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS is now issued on Bu-ray and dvd and reviewed in magazines like "Sight & Sound" .... it  was always regarded as the ultimate Trash Classic, often twinned with Fox's other 1970 bomb: the film they made of Gore Vidal's hilarious satire MYRA BRECKINRIDGE in all those late-night double features at cult cinemas.  Will MYRA follow suit onto Blu-ray now too ? Do we even want to see it again - there are clips on YouTube including a Mae West cut featuring only Mae's scenes.. (I have MYRA and BEYOND on a twin dvd pack actually, I am sure thats enough for me).

I absolutely loved Gore's book at the time, being in my early twenties, it was a savage satire on Hollywood and those movie buffs. England's one time pop singer (for five minutes) and part-time actor (A PLACE TO GO) Mike Sarne was the surprising choice chosen to direct, as he put veterans John Huston (Buck Loner) and Mae West (the insatiable agent Leticia Van Allen) through their paces, with Raquel Welch gamely playing sex-change Myra, with critic Rex Reed as her alter ego Myron. The critics hated it, the public generally ignored it, but those in the know rushed to see it as did my best friend Stan and myself - I can remember us standing in the queue waiting to get in, to be greeted by the bare bones of the novel and endless 20th Century Fox clips featuring Shirley Temple and the like .... it was really nothing like the book, but how could it? Huston and Mae seemed to be enjoying themselves (Mae arrives at her office, equipped with a bed, where a host of guys - including a young Tom Selleck - are waiting for her ... Mae says she has a full day so "one of those guys will have to go"). Farah Fawcett-Major got her big break here too as the innocent Mary-Anne. 
The climax with Myra donning a strap-on and sodomising that hunk Rusty Godowski (Roger Herren) was certainly eye-popping for the time ...

A sample of some of the dialogue: 
Myra: I am Myra Breckinridge, whom no man will ever possess. The new woman whose astonishing history started with a surgeon's scalpel, and will end... who-knows-where. Just as Eve was born from Adam's rib, so Myron died to give birth to Myra. Did Myron take his own life, you will ask? Yes, and no, is my answer. Beyond that, my lips are sealed. Let it suffice for me to say that Myron is... with me, and that I am the fulfillment of all his dreams. Who is Myra Breckinridge? What is she? Myra Breckinridge is a dish, and don't you ever forget it, you motherfuckers - as the children say nowadays.
Myra:  Gentlemen... I am Myron Breckinridge! Uncle Buck, your fag nephew became your niece two years ago in Copenhagen and is now free as a bird and happy in being the most extraordinary woman in the world!
Leticia: How tall are you when you're off your horse, cowboy?
Young Man at "Interview": Um, six feet, seven inches, ma'am.
Leticia: Well, never mind the six feet, and let's talk about the seven inches.
Myra: Where are my tits? Where are my tits?

MYRA was outrageous in 1970 even in that druggy, crazy counterculture era of MIDNIGHT COWBOY, WOMEN IN LOVE, FELLINI-SATYRICON, Antonioni's ZABRISKIE POINT, Visconti's THE DAMNED. Transgender is seemingly trendy now - could MYRA's time come again? I am in the mood for VALLEY OF THE DOLLS now ....


  1. Loved the book and loved the movie despite the terrible reviews. It's a camp classic. I actually saw the director, Mike Sarne, when he was a young pop star and came to Derry for one of the Sunday Night concerts in St Columb's Hall organized by Father, later Bishop, Daly.

  2. A NEW LEAF ... from your book! :)

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