Myra Breckinridge (1970)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Gay & Lesbian Films, Satire  |   Run Time - 94 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Craig Butler

Originally derided as one of the low points in Hollywood history, Myra Breckinridge has since developed a dedicated cult following, with the result that its reputation has risen somewhat. Not that anyone would ever consider it a good movie; it's just that the unintentionally campiness of it has a certain morbid fascination that makes the film watchable. Although Gore Vidal had a hand in adapting his own novel, he seems to have done so without giving it much thought. There's no structure to the film, and little sense. The character of Myron, for example, has not been clearly defined, so that at times he seems to be nothing more than a figment of the imagination, and at other times, a real character. The satire of the novel is unfocused here, with targets picked seemingly at random. And while there are some amusing lines, much of the humor comes from laughing at how inane much of the proceedings are. Under the circumstances, no one could be expected to give a great performance, but Mae West is amusing. Despite its faults, the sheerly bizarre amateurishness of the piece makes it a unique experience -- one that some will relish and others will dismiss.