MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 404 this week

Glen or Glenda (1953)

 -  Drama  -  April 1953 (USA)
4.1
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 4.1/10 from 6,008 users  
Reviews: 116 user | 43 critic

A psychiatrist tells two stories: one of a transvestite (Glen or Glenda), the other of a pseudohermaphrodite (Alan or Anne).

Director:

Writer:

(story)
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.00 on Amazon Instant Video

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 42 titles
created 19 Jun 2012
 
a list of 45 titles
created 21 May 2013
 
a list of 41 titles
created 11 months ago
 
a list of 46 titles
created 9 months ago
 
a list of 32 images
created 7 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Glen or Glenda" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Glen or Glenda (1953)

Glen or Glenda (1953) on IMDb 4.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Glen or Glenda.

User Polls

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Short | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.9/10 X  

Tex is a gunslinger who murders a cowboy and steals his money. Lem is an honest man who wants nothing more than to marry Barbara. When Tex marries Barbara and treats her badly, Lem decides to settle the score.

Director: Edward D. Wood Jr.
Stars: Edward D. Wood Jr., Duke Moore, Don Nagel
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2.3/10 X  

A flunky for a porno movie ring starts murdering the smut films' lead actresses.

Director: Edward D. Wood Jr.
Stars: Kenne Duncan, Duke Moore, Jean Fontaine
Ed Wood (1994)
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The mostly true story of the legendary director of awful movies and his strange group of friends and actors.

Director: Tim Burton
Stars: Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

How was it possible that a movie like "Plan 9 from Outerspace" could be made? This documentary about Ed Wood Jr.'s masterpiece gives the answer.

Director: Brett Thompson
Stars: Vampira, Dolores Fuller, Paul Marco
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Sir Joel Cadman, a mad scientist, kidnaps his victims and cuts open their brains in an effort to discover a means to cure his wife's brain tumor.

Director: Reginald Le Borg
Stars: Basil Rathbone, Akim Tamiroff, Lon Chaney Jr.
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

A couple hire a detective to locate their missing daughter. He finds her in a "house of ill-repute."

Director: Edward D. Wood Jr.
Stars: L.G. Allard, Nona Carver, Linda Colpin
Director: Christopher Kahler
Stars: Shawn C. Phillips, Christine Sclafani, Christopher Kahler
The Sun Was Setting (TV Short 1951)
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

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 »

Director: Edward D. Wood Jr.
Stars: Angela Stevens, Phyllis Coates, Tom Keene
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

The mysterious Dr. Acula arrives at a foreboding mansion and swirls his cape through a complicated inheritance scam and murder mystery featuring vampires and a deranged family out for blood.

Director: Andre Perkowski
Stars: Criswell, Katie Dugan, David C. Hayes
Hellborn (Video 1993)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
Directors: Henry Bederski, Edward D. Wood Jr.
Stars: Henry Bederski, Conrad Brooks, Ted Brooks
Boots (1953)
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.3/10 X  
Director: Edward D. Wood Jr.
Criswell Predicts (1953–1961)
Talk-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A daily show in which the Amazing Criswell outlines his predictions for the weeks and months ahead.

Stars: Criswell, Bob Shields
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Inspector Warren
Timothy Farrell ...
Dr. Alton / Narrator
Dolores Fuller ...
'Tommy' Haynes ...
Alan / Anne
...
Glen / Glenda (as Daniel Davis)
Charles Crafts ...
Conrad Brooks ...
Banker / Reporter / Pickup Artist / Bearded Drag (as Connie Brooks)
Edit

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:

World Shocked by Sex Change See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

April 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Glen or Glenda?  »

Box Office

Budget:

$20,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Dolores Fuller was Edward D. Wood Jr.'s girlfriend at the time of filming. See more »

Goofs

When Glen talks with a friend at the kitchen table, he breaks the fork in his hand. The breaking sound clearly occurs before the visual break. See more »

Quotes

Scientist: No one can really tell the story. Mistakes are made. But there is no mistaking the thoughts in a man's mind. The story is begun.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Diabolik (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Csárdás
(or "Czardas")
Composed by Vittorio Monti
[plays during the bondage portion of the dream sequence]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The greatest movie by one of the great filmmakers of all time
21 December 2004 | by (Grover Beach, CA) – See all my reviews

Ed Wood was one of the greatest moviemakers in film history. Could he direct? Not really. Were his movies technical masterpieces? Could his actors act? Did he have huge budgets? No. We're here fifty years later, talking about him, because he created worlds on film nobody had ever seen before or since. His characters talked like nobody we've ever heard before (though there are strong echoes in the works of Hartley and Lynch). And unlike every Hollywood movie ever made, Ed ripped open his heart and poured it out on the screen. Never more so than in "Glen Or Glenda," his original avant-garde masterpiece.

Avant-garde? You heard me. What is the definition of avant-garde film? Some attributes are unconventional narrative, unique visual style, radical rejection of artistic or social norms, an often willful disregard for reality. Gloria Floren said "Avant-garde films are often iconoclastic, mocking conventional morality and traditional values; the filmmaker's intense interest in eccentricities and extremes may shock viewers.  Indeed, the avant-garde film maker's purpose may be to wake or shake up the audience from the stupor of ordinary consciousness or the doldrums of conventional perspective."

Imagine if people viewed "Un Chien Andalou" or "Meshes Of The Afternoon" or "Eraserhead" with fratboy derision instead of holy reverence. They'd be viewed as unwatchable nonsense too. Everybody'd have a good snark watching for continuity errors and bad camera moves. Does "Glen or Glenda" rise to the level of those classics? Time will tell, but try this experiment: watch it as if it were, and see. The results may surprise you.

Here are some hints. Lugosi is not a mad scientist--he's God, looking down upon twisted human morality and "pulling the strings". The "green eyed monster" that "eats little boys"? Envy. Envy of women and in this case, their clothes. That envy has "eaten" vast amounts of Glen's life, it's been a torture to him. There are numerous references to that torture and misery. There's also an entire section devoted to judgment--human judgment versus that reserved to God.

The "nonsensical" stock footage of buffaloes and the army? It signifies the rush of adrenaline, fear and anxiety as "Glen" tries to confront his identity and "come out" to his girlfriend. Far from random, it's actually used with ingenuity and skill.

The symbology of scenes in which "Glen" battles his female self and resists the devil should be obvious. But then again, a generous viewing of "Glen or Glenda," rather than a beer-fueled "let's watch a crap movie" viewing, would reveal a great deal. Even the campy scene at the end, when Dolores Fuller relents and gives Glen her sweater, comes with the always-missed segment where God absolves Glen of his misery. There are a dozen moments like this. Sure, there are a dozen technical flubs and random nonsense too, but all good art is organic. There's a guy wearing a Timex in "Ben-Hur," for god's sake.

The "narrator" seems comical and dated to us, but in 1953 he was standard-issue, and the lines we now take as campy were then revolutionary, almost treasonous. A plea for tolerance for sexual and gender differences? Condemning the police for arresting gays and transvestites just for existing? During the McCarthy era, when all homosexuals were presumed to be communists? A film like that is bound to make some enemies. Especially a film that featured, not actors playing "deviants," but the deviants themselves, in their own words.

It's telling that the extreme-religious-conservative Medved brothers were the ones who named Ed Wood "worst director of all time." They must have thought they were really sticking it to Ed Wood for making all those subversively weird films involving crossdressing and homosexuals and society's outcasts. Thankfully, irony remains the most powerful force in the universe, and their mean-spirited declaration made Ed Wood a household name. Whether they admit it or not, a lot of this movie's detractors are laughing at the subject, not the movie. Many others are baffled by the unconventional narrative. Just because you don't get something, doesn't mean there is nothing to get.

It's easy to give any movie the MST3K treatment, especially ones that veer into uncomfortable or seemingly absurd territory. If you're looking for the worst movie ever made, go watch "Armageddon" or "Crossroads." If you're looking for THE pioneering moment in GLBT film history, the greatest and most underrated American DIY avante-garde feature of its time, or an experience that just might change the way you view movies and the world at large, start right here.


113 of 142 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
This movie is not bad weezer-20
The 'Dream' Sequence or whatever it is. It rules. snowleopard27
Can Editing Be Funny? Sure! buffalonemo
rent it? androydd
Fake trailer remake silversteak90
What is it with IMDB changing the titles? Southy_A
Discuss Glen or Glenda (1953) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?