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Trivia / Myra Breckinridge

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  • Banned in China: It was banned in Australia for a while.
  • Billing Displacement: Raquel Welch is the star, yet she gets third billing behind Mae West and John Huston.
  • Box Office Bomb: Budget: $5,385,000. Box office: $4 million.
  • Cast the Runner-Up: Tom Selleck auditioned for the role of Rusty before being cast as Stud.
  • Creator Backlash: Most people involved in the movie ended up disliking it.
    • Gore Vidal hated the movie and said it was one the worst he'd ever seen.
    • Raquel Welch and Farrah Fawcett also went on record to say that the movie was terrible. In a 2012 interview with Mark Peikert, Welch said of the film, "The only good thing about that was the clothes."
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    • Rex Reed went as far to say that the movie would never even be released.
    • After completing his scenes, John Huston shrugged that Michael Sarne will never be able to "cut this mess together."
  • Creator Killer: Michael Sarne never worked in Hollywood again.
  • Disowned Adaptation: Gore Vidal disowned this screen version of his novel, calling it the second worst film he'd ever seen.
  • Hostility on the Set:
    • Much like Peter Sellers and Orson Welles on Casino Royale (1967), Raquel Welch and Mae West got on so badly that they weren't on the set at the same time. According to the 1978 book Flesh and Fantasy, West had stipulated in her contract that only she would be allowed to dress in black and white in the film. Welch showed up to shoot their first scene together in a black dress with an enormous white ruffle, and West threw a fit. When the film's producers sided with West, Welch had the ruffle on the dress dyed a very, very pale blue...which photographed as white.
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    • Farrah Fawcett had a horrible time on the film. Not only was Welch mean to her, but West took one look at her and said she refused to work with other blondes, so she was sent to have her hair darkened. When Welch saw her, Farrah said she was furious and she was sent back to the colorist.
    • Michael Sarne complained to the film's producers that Rex Reed was being "faggy, prissy and unpleasant" on the set. He repeatedly insulted and belittled the cast, in particular calling Welch "old raccoon" and constantly telling her to her face that she was so ugly he could barely stand to look at her. He also called John Huston a "decrepit old hack" among other things, and slammed his entire career in a magazine interview conducted during filming. He also encouraged bickering among his cast members.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Given how bad things went upon release, 20th Century Fox apparently thought so little of Myra Breckinridge that, aside from a brief early '80s VHS release, it was unavailable on the home video market until 2004.
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  • Money, Dear Boy: Michael Sarne didn't want to make the film, as he didn't like the book, but he needed the money after several failed years in Hollywood.
  • Re-Cut: A scene implying that Myron is masturbating to Farrah Fawcett originally ended in a clip of Shirley Temple milking a cow. One lawsuit coming from the White House (she was now serving as a U.S. ambassador) later, it was changed - the VHS is nonsensical with an old war movie, while the DVD keeps the visual innuendo by having Oliver Hardy splashed by champagne.
  • Stunt Casting: Film critic Rex Reed as Myra's pre-op counterpart Myron.
  • Troubled Production: Along with the cases of Hostility on the Set, director Michael Sarne obtained Protection from Editors in his contract and then by all accounts deliberately trying to make the worst film he possibly could, from the bizarre casting choices, the constant addition of weird material (along with wasting resources, such as spending the better part of a week shooting hours of footage featuring plates of food), and ending the day's filming eight hours early so that he could spend the rest of the day "thinking." His decision to use lots of Stock Footage also led to lawsuits from the actors featured in them (specially those with clips in the rape scene!), and at one point no less than the White House stepped in to have clips of Shirley Temple removed, as at that time the adult Shirley Temple Black was serving as a U.S. ambassador.
  • Typecasting: Mae West was known for playing characters that seemed to speak only in double entendres. Her character in this, Leticia Van Allen, was no different.
  • Wag the Director: One of the conditions that Mae West insisted on be met before she would appear in the film was that she have a couple of musical numbers. She also had full approval on all wardrobe decisions for not just her but for Raquel Welch, too. For their one scene together, Welch was supposed to have been wearing a black dress with white trim to counterpoint West's own white dress. On the day of filming Welch arrived on set, eager to wear her sumptuous Theadora Van Runkle creation, only to be informed that West had insisted that it be confiscated, claiming that she had stipulated in her contract that only she would be allowed to dress in black and white in the film. Welch was so outraged she stormed off set and would only return when the dress had been given back. Then she insisted that her character's name (Leticia) be spelled differently than it was in the book (Letitia) citing "the obvious reasons".
  • What Could Have Been:
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: Michael Sarne constantly rewrote the script, adding bizarre and completely irrelevant scenes that deviated further from the original novel.

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