One of the most notorious films ever made. Adapted from the Gore Vidal novel of the same name, in which a gay man, Myron Breckinridge (Rex Reed), undergoes a sex-change operation before setting of - as Myra Breckinridge - on a mission to Hollywood to "destroy the American male in all its particulars". MYRA BRECKINRIDGE received scathing reviews upon its release in 1970, yet Raquel Welch's performance as the larger-than-life title character is filled with dynamism and vivacity.
Whether belittling Myron's uncle, Buck Loner (played by a ravaged-looking John Huston), in an attempt to inherit a stake in his acting school; conniving with sex-crazed casting agent Leticia Van Allen (Mae West); or even emasculating one of her acting students, in a scene which would make any man have nightmares about visiting a female chiropractor; Welch illuminates every scene in the movie with her portrayal of the man-hating Myra.
Resplendent in designer Theodora Van Runkle's array of eye-catching costumes, Raquel Welch exudes a confidence in her performance which belies the difficulties she experienced while shooting the movie. Constant re-writes (the film takes numerous liberties with the original novel); problems working with the project's inexperienced British director, Michael Sarne; and being the target of much hostility from the legendary Mae West, who was making her first movie in nearly thirty years; all contributed to much tension on the set. None of this shows, however, in Welch's captivating performance.
Indeed, Mae West was granted top billing on MYRA BRECKINRIDGE and it was a decision by the studio which understandably offended Raquel Welch. Nevertheless, despite her reservations about the film all these years later, this admittedly bizarre satire on gender and sexual stereotyping is Raquel's show all the way to its final irreverent reel.
In terms of extras, Raquel Welch's audio commentary is well worth listening to, with the actress talking quite candidly about the making of the film. Meanwhile, the DVD also features Michael Sarne's "director's cut" of MYRA BRECKINRIDGE. While it possesses no obvious additional scenes, its black and white coda does arguably throw the twist ending of the movie into greater contrast with the rest of the film.
Overall, this is a fine representation of one of the ultimate cult movies on DVD, with MYRA BRECKINRIDGE's picture looking particularly stunning. A film for fans of both Raquel Welch and wacky 1960s cinema, they really don't make 'em like this anymore! File it alongside the likes of Peter Sellers' THE MAGIC CHRISTIAN and enjoy.