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Glen or Glenda

USA, English, 65 mins

  • Director: Edward D. Wood Jr.
  • Writer: Edward D. Wood Jr.
  • Producer: George Weiss

CGiii Comment

From the supposedly worst director in history.

WAIT - if this were theatre...then, it would have been respectfully categorised as theatre of the absurd (think Albee or Beckett).

To paraphrase Woods...answer this question: is his work hard to explain or is it just hard to accept?

Woods was a transvestite himself, therefore there is so much truth in this film.

It is blatantly heartfelt and it was made in 1953 - think McCarthy - and you will see how brave Woods actually was - as for his film-making talents...it really is bizarre - absurd but, strangely, fascinating.


Trailer...

The(ir) Blurb...

"Glen or Glenda" tells two stories. One is about Glen, who secretly dresses as a woman but is afraid to tell his fiancée, Barbara. The other is about Alan, a pseudohermaphrodite who undergoes a painful operation to become a woman. Both stories are told by Dr. Alton, who also delivers an earnest lecture on tolerance and understanding. There is a second narrator, called the Scientist, whose commentary on the action contains more philosophical pronouncements than facts. The movie also has flashbacks-within-flashbacks and a strange dream sequence. We meet Insp. Warren, whose investigation of a transvestite's suicide leads him to learn more about men in women's clothes; Johnny, whose wife left him when she discovered what he wears when she's away; Barbara, oblivious to Glen's desire to wear her angora sweater; Satan, who invades Glen's nightmare; and others. Meanwhile, the Scientist will only offer cryptic advice.


Though it was developed as an exploitation film meant to capitalize on popular interest in Christine Jorgensen’s transition, then a tabloid sensation, Ed Wood’s Glen or Glenda? is, for its time, an astonishingly sympathetic portrayal of cross-dressing and gender nonconformity. Nominally resembling an educational reel, the film relates the stories of Glen, who struggles to tell his fiancée that he covets her angora sweaters, and a GI who undergoes reassignment surgery, but Wood conveys this narrative in a style bizarre beyond measure. While the director’s more famous Plan 9 from Outer Space is regarded as the ne plus ultra of bad, low-budget moviemaking, Glen or Glenda?, with its inexplicable dream sequences, portentous narration, stock-footage hyperbole, and terrifically stiff acting, is no less bewildering in its composition.

Cast & Characters

Bela Lugosi as Scientist;
Lyle Talbot as Inspector Warren;
Timothy Farrell as Dr. Alton / Narrator;
Dolores Fuller as Barbara;
'Tommy' Haynes as Alan / Anne;
Edward D. Wood Jr. as Glen / Glenda;
Charles Crafts as Johnny;
Conrad Brooks as Banker / Reporter / Pickup Artist / Bearded Drag;
Henry Bederski as Man with Hat and Receding Hairline;
Captain DeZita as The Devil / Glen's Father;
Helen Miles; Shirley Speril as Miss Stevens;
Harry Thomas as Man in Nightmare;
William C. Thompson as Judge;
Mr. Walter as Patrick / Patricia

From the same director:

Ed Wood

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