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Glen or Glenda (1953)

PG | | Drama | April 1953 (USA)
A psychiatrist tells two stories: one of a transvestite (Glen or Glenda), the other of a pseudohermaphrodite (Alan or Anne).

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Timothy Farrell ...
...
'Tommy' Haynes ...
...
Glen / Glenda (as Daniel Davis)
Charles Crafts ...
...
Banker / Reporter / Pickup Artist / Bearded Drag (as Connie Brooks)
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Storyline

"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. "Beware!" he warns. "Beware of the big, green dragon that sits on your ... Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Daring and True EXPOSÉ...of a HUSH-HUSH Subject! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

April 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Glen or Glenda, Which Is It?  »

Box Office

Budget:

$20,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1982 re-issue) | (DVD) | (cut) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was originally intended to be loosely based on the story of sex-change pioneer Christine Jorgensen. See more »

Goofs

The text accompanying the close-up of a newspaper story headlined "Man Nabbed Dressed As Girl" is a hodge-podge of unrelated paragraphs lifted from stories about tax reform, a prison injury, and faith healing. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Alton: Would you be surprised to know that this rough, tough individual is wearing pink satin undies under his rough exterior clothing? He is. Then there is your friend the milkman who... who knows how to find comfort at home.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Card at beginning: In the making of this film, which deals with a strange and curious subject, no punches have been pulled-- no easy way out has been taken. Many of the smaller parts are portrayed by persons who actually are, in real life, the character they portray on the screen. This is a picture of stark realism-- taking no sides -- but giving you the facts -- ALL the facts -- as they are today... YOU ARE SOCIETY -- JUDGE YE NOT... See more »

Connections

Referenced in Law & Order: Baby, It's You (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Czardas
(uncredited)
Music by Vittorio Monti
[plays during the bondage portion of the dream sequence]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Bevare.........Take Care!
10 July 2007 | by (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

"Glen or Glenda" was Edward D. Wood Jr's first attempt at directing a feature film. For this he chose a topic near and dear to his heart...transvestism, the "art" of a man wanting to dress in women's clothes. To his credit, Wood tried to deal with subject matter that was largely taboo in 1953. Unfortunately, Wood had neither the budget nor the know how to make the film.

The story opens with a prologue by Bela Lugosi that makes little sense and then moves to the discovery of a dead transvestite Glen/Glenda (Daniel Davis aka Ed Wood). Inspector Warren (Lyle Talbot) with the help of psychiatrist Dr. Alton (Timothy Farrell) tries to understand why a man would want to live (and die) this way.

Glen is engaged to Barbara (Dolores Fuller) and is reluctant to tell her of his obsession. And that's it. We see endless stock footage shots of anything from freeway traffic to soldiers landing on the beach, interspersed with shots of Wood walking down the same street dressed as either Glen or Glenda and looking longingly at women's clothes in a store window. Poor old Bela, who was down on his luck and befriended by Wood, keeps popping in throughout the story. I'm not 100% sure but I think Bela's scenes were added for his name value after the body of the movie was completed.

To add to the confusion of Lugosi's narration, Farrell as Dr. Alton also provides off screen narration. Lugosi keeps saying, bevare, bevare...take care, take care, as well as, some gibberish about snakes and snails and puppy dog's tails.

The story also deals with a transvestite who has a successful sex change operation and tries to explain the difference between that person and Wood's character(s). The dream sequences are laughable. A wedding sequence in which someone dressed as the devil appears is a good example. Wood also gives us an apparent rape scene with the actors(?) fully clothed but leaving little to the imagination, risqué for 1953.

This film along with Wood's other "classics" were so bad that they became embraced by the public as cult classics over the years. For that reason, they have survived to this day.


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