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Glen or Glenda (1953)

Not Rated | | 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:
...
...
Inspector Warren
Timothy Farrell ...
Dr. Alton / Narrator
...
'Tommy' Haynes ...
Alan / Anne
...
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:

"I Changed My Sex!" See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | 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)
 »

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

In March 1981, Paramount placed a full-page page ad in the New York Times announcing the reissue of Glen or Glenda (1953). It was heralded as a lost trail-blazing masterpiece in the tradition of Citizen Kane (1941), Freaks (1932), The Godfather (1972) and Napoleon (1927). A big New York premiere was scheduled for the reissue, but the date, April 1st, made film buffs suspect that the whole thing was an April Fool's Day joke. Paramount abruptly canceled the premiere the night before, citing the attempted assassination of then-president Ronald Reagan on March 30th. The film was quietly put into limited re-release the next month, and started appearing in TV "bad movie" film festivals soon after. See more »

Goofs

When Dr. Alton is explains the pseudo-hermaphrodite condition to Inspector Warren, he leaves the pen on the table prior to walking to a chart. When Dr. Alton returns to the table, the pen has moved. In the next shot, the pen is back in Dr. Alton's hand. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: When modern woman's day of work is done,that which is designed for her comfort IS comfort. Hats that give no obstruction to the bloodflow, hats that do not crush the hair. Interesting thought, isn't it?
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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

Featured in The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made (2004) 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

Believe the hype! Everything you've heard about this one is true! Fifty years on it's STILL one of the weirdest movies ever made.
1 June 2003 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

Ever since Tim Burton's wonderful 'Ed Wood' raised Ed Wood Jr's profile and made his seriously bent movies movies better known than they have ever been, some cult movie fans have gotten their noses out of joint. Wood's reputation as the worst director ever pushes some buffs buttons as it marginalizes already marginalized film makers like Ray Dennis Steckler, Ted V. Mikels, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Al Adamson and other "so bad it's good" directors. I leave more knowledgeable fans than me to argue over who REALLY is the worst, but there's no denying that Wood's movies are quite unlike anything made before or since. 'Glen Or Glenda' is his best movie, or if the term "best" misleads, his Ed Woodest. I've lost track of how many times I've seen it over the years but it never loses its power to amuse and astound. Every single time I watch it I am flabbergasted! It literally has to be seen to be believed. Wood plays the title character, a man wrestling with his transvestitism. His girlfriend is played by Dolores Fuller, the cop by Lyle Talbot, the psychiatrist by Timothy Farrell, all three familiar faces from other Wood classics like 'Plan Nine From Outer Space' and 'Jail Bait'. But the real reason to watch this is the utterly bizarre performance from horror legend Bela Lugosi, credited on the version I watched as "scientist", and on the IMDb as "The Spirit", who may or may not be God. His rantings of "Pull the strings! Pull the strings!" and nonsensical stuff about "Green dragons" and "puppy dog tails" will stay in your head for YEARS, if not for the rest of your life! Wood intercuts this with nutty stock footage like buffalo stampedes, and one of the most wacked out nightmare sequences ever seen, which includes lots of chubby gals in states of undress, some S and M, and and an appearance by Satan. Believe the hype - everything you've heard about this one is true! Fifty years on it's STILL one of the weirdest movies ever made. If you haven't seen 'Glen Or Glenda' you just don't know what you're missing!


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