A woman is dying in her apartment. Two friends visit her and she tells them she wants to go to Chinatown. They convince her not to go, and then leave themselves. Unable to stand her ... See full summary »
"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
Ed Wood. The so-called "worst director of all time". Sorry, there are plenty of other directors who could take that title because Ed Wood is not that bad of a director nor a bad person. Ed made movies to make movies, not to make a buck. And that's why his films are sort of poignant in their flaws.
"Glen or Glenda?" is a statement, not a film. It is a statement about transvestism, the truth behind it, and gives several (for the most part, factual) cases of transvestites and transsexuals. Wood is world-reknowned for being a transvestite with a fetish for angora sweaters. And here, he is brave enough to cast himself in an autobiographical role (Glen) and let the world know (yet, he hides under the pseudonym of Daniel Davis).
"Glen or Glenda?" is a bad movie lover's dream. Hilarious dialogue, no coherent plotline, and many memorable sequences of transvestites and their hardships. The narrator does a splendid job of camping things up while explaining how a transvestite is not a homosexual, how it is more healthy to wear womens' clothing, and the tragic results of misunderstood transvestites. Plus, you get Bela Lugosi as God (he's nice and campy), several out-of-place striptease and cheesecake scenes (pretty graphic for 1953), and Dolores Fuller (Wood's real-life girlfriend) as Glen's fiancee.
Too many people rated this movie with a 1. But "Glen or Glenda?" is not as bad as "Orgy of the Dead" or other later Ed Wood classics. In fact, "Glen or Glenda?" is arguably Wood's greatest achievement. Check it out, I strongly recommend it.
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