“During the decade between 1935 and 1945 no unimportant film was made in the United States.” — Myra Breckinridge
Inexplicably - one might say fatally - over the last couple weeks I’ve been drawn in the Vortex of Myra Breckinridge, legendary as being one of the worst movies ever made. This means I’ve watched it several times on the Yewtybbe, and now you can, too.
Two groups of songs figure in the Festival of Bad: songs sung by Mae West, and songs taken from Old Hollywood Movies. I’m more interested in the latter, but let’s lead off with the former, “You’ve Got to Taste All the Fruit” and “Girl on the Scene,” both of which are included in this clip:
But as I said, finding the other songs, and the movies they came from, has been much more interesting. The opening credits play out to Shirley Temple singing ”You’ve Got to S M I L E” from Stowaway of 1936:
“May I Tempt You With a Big Red Rosy Apple?” introduces a scene between Myra and Mary Ann (memorably played by Farrah Fawcett Herself). It turns to be from a Betty Grable/Victor Mature/Phil Harris vehicle called Wabash Avenue. Go to 00:52 for the start of the song:
Last, but far from least, we have Alice Faye and John Payne singing “America, I Love You” in Tin Pan Alley from 1940. In Myra Breckinridge this is used twice: once as background music for what appears to be a streetside drug bust, and again as a soundtrack for a quartet of aged cowboy actors (including Andy Devine and Grady Sutton) playing poker and ranting about “commie perverts turning out filth.”
I’d never heard of John Payne, but just look at that smiling expression! Further research proved he’s an awesome hunk of man:
Finally, I thought I recognized the instrumental music when Buck Loner (John Huston) greets the ladies by the pool at the card party, and it turns out I was right. It’s the music from the fashion show in How to Marry a Millionaire:
So, have fun viewing . . . if you dare!
BONUS! Myra refers to “Ella Mae Morse and the Cow Cow Boogie” after Mary Ann leaves. Here’s the song: