Monday, June 28, 2010

Mae West: Regrets Only

Did MAE WEST regret starring in "Myra Breckinridge''? This motion picture was screened on the final night of the yearly Cinema Q Film Festival — — on Sunday, 27 June 2010 — — in Denver, Colorado.
• • Lou Lumenick, The New York Post's chief film critic, made some amusing remarks about 20th Century Fox's unloved, half-forgotten child of the 1970s. See if you agree.
• • Happy 40th birthday, 'Myra Breckinridge' — — by Lou Lumenick • •
• • Michael Sarne's "Myra Breckinridge'' arrived in theaters on June 24, 1970 — — 40 years ago today — — to a critical hailstorm that has not yet let up. Cults have sprung up around many other bad movies, but "Myra'' remains in a special, almost entirely unloved class by itself — — the last entry on the film's Facebook page is from nearly three months ago.
• • A rep from Fox Home Video recently told me there were no plans to include this legendary flop among the dozens of the films being reissued on DVD and upgraded to Blu-ray to mark the 75th anniversary of 20th Century Fox this year. (Russ Meyer and Roger Ebert's far less entertaining "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls'' — — which also originally carried an X rating — — did make the cut, improbably sharing a set with the religious epic "Inn of the Sixth Happiness.'')
• • Fox did put "Myra'' out on DVD in a fine special edition six years ago that includes hilarious dueling commentary tracks by Raquel Welch (who shared the title role — — a male film critic who has a sex change operation — — with real-life film critic Rex Reed) and director Sarne. There was also a half-hour "AMC Backstory'' episode on the film's scandalous history and colorful cast, which also included top-billed Mae West, John Huston, Farrah Fawcett (who died on June 25th last year), Tom Selleck, John Carradine, and Grady Sutton.
• • The film originally carried an X rating for the notorious scene where our heroine rapes a fellow drama student played by Roger Herren. Running through this scene, and much of the movie, are clips from old movies. Loretta Young threatened to sue and Fox removed footage of her and other stars who were still alive from a somewhat toned-down R-rated version of the film, which is the one on DVD.
• • "Myra Breckinridge'' has the rare distinction of being disowned by its stars, its director — — and Gore Vidal, on whose novel the movie was based (though he has repeatedly claimed he's never seen it). Hollywood did not film Vidal's forgotten sequel, "Myron,'' where the critic is trapped in a Maria Montez movie. . . .
— — Excerpt: — —
• • Article: Happy 40th birthday, 'Myra Breckinridge'
• • By Lou Lumenick, The New York Post's chief film critic
• • Published on: 24 June 2010
• • Published in: The New York Post

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