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|Index||125 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Nobody could make a entertainingly awful movie with quite the same warped imagination or infectiously loopy go-for-it enthusiasm as the late, great, and downright legendary Ed Wood. This singular ode to cross-dressing rates highly as one of the single most mind-boggling messes to ever stumble its way onto celluloid. On one hand it's a compassionate and nonjudgmental plea for tolerance, acceptance, and understanding that's done with a certain endearingly clunky sincerity and pure honesty (Wood goes to great lengths to note that transvestitism and homosexuality are two very different things). However, it's also a gloriously ghastly train wreck of a film complete with plentiful what's-he-doing-here? footage of a ranting Bela Lugosi as a deranged scientist on an incredibly cheap set who spouts all kinds of absurd gibberish, overheated dialogue ("Pull the string!"), hopelessly atrocious acting, a slushy score, a meandering narrative, and a hilariously surreal dream set piece that manages to be funny, poetic, silly, and even erotic in equal measure. Wood displays an all-out ineptitude as a filmmaker that's easily matched by his undeniable earnestness. It's this earnest quality which in turn gives this picture its uniquely cracked charm. Yeah, Wood was a terminally fumbling director with no real knack or talent, but man did this guy have a lot of heart just the same. Said heart is all over this movie -- and that's exactly why in the long run this film proves to be oddly affecting as well as unintentionally amusing. Moreover, one must admire the courage it took for Wood to deal with such bold taboo subject matter head-on back in the extremely repressive 50's. Art it sure ain't, but boy is it really something to behold.
Considering the film’s reputation as truly the worst of the worst, I
was looking forward to watching Wood’s Crappus Opus (my word); it’s not
necessarily any more inept than the other Woods I’ve watched – however,
being from the REEFER MADNESS (1938) school of film-making, GLEN OR
GLENDA doesn’t come across as readily ‘enjoyable’ as his genre efforts.
Also, this surely emerges as Horror legend Bela Lugosi’s nadir (his first of three ‘collaborations’ with the director): one wonders whether he was really aware what kind of film it was (considering the actor’s history of heavy medication and the sheer senselessness of his cameo). Besides, Lugosi’s idiosyncratic delivery is perhaps at its most awkward here…though Wood’s script is mostly to blame for this – given the impossible dialogue (with repeated nonsensical allusions to “puppy-dog tails” and “big fat snails”) he handed the ailing star! By the way, Wood himself plays the central role (under the pseudonym Daniel Davis) – and, being just as worthless in this area, proves to have been an all-round dog!; Dolores Fuller – his wife and co-star – was similarly untalented (she would also appear in JAIL BAIT )…but, at the very least, the image where the latter finally lets Glen wear her angora sweater did give Tim Burton’s affectionate biopic ED WOOD (1994) its famous poster!
Incidentally, the latter film features a presumably fictionalized meeting between Wood and Orson Welles – well, for all intents and purposes, GLEN OR GLENDA constitutes Ed Wood’s CITIZEN KANE (1941) given its gleeful propensity for gimmicky narrative techniques: in fact, the barest thread of plot is padded with stock footage galore (many of it irrelevant, such as the bewildering instances of S&M) and inane dream sequences (highlighted by the presence of an impish demon sporting outrageous bushy eyebrows that would make Martin Scorsese weep with envy)! The film’s sincere attempt at a plea for tolerance and psychological probing into the affliction/phenomenon of transvestism is, however, sabotaged at every turn by the sheer amateurishness of the approach.
For what it’s worth, the edition I watched was the “Extended Re-issue Version” which included six minutes of ‘depraved’ footage (directed by W. Merle Connell) censored on original release! Furthermore, my copy went out-of-synch every so often (which forced me to rewind it slightly to get the audio back on track) – though, thankfully, this was the fault of the source conversion to DivX as opposed to the film itself.
Ed Wood at his nonsensical best.
The story (AHHAHHAHA - sorry.) is about a transvestite that commits suicide. The officer that finds him then consults a doctor to tell him all about transvestites.
The movie starts off with Bela Lugosi sitting in a chair, talking gibberish. It seems out of place when considering that the rest of the movie comes off as a documentary on transvestism. Its as if Vincent Price was doing his "thing" and the director randomly placed his scenes at various points throughout the movie. And the movie is Super Size Me.
This movie is wrought with Ed Wood's technique. There is more stock in an Ed Wood movie than there is on Wall Street. There's nothing I like better than a close up of a radiator at a suicide scene. I also love all the numerous shots of Ed walking or crossing the street. And what about all the highway shots and lighting shots. Classic Ed. There is also a scene that seems to be straight out of the Orgy of the Dead. It seems be stock footage from an S&M movie of the time with a jazz & polka soundtrack (another Ed staple). The dialogue is about as good as a decent porn movie. The sets are not much better. They're flat and angular. There are other technique's worth noting : the conversation with no one in the shot, and then suddenly someone walks in; the jump cut; the coming through the door but not closing the door and then someone walks in after a jump cut shot; Glenda coming in through the door and something falls off the paper thin wall shot.
This movie is bad. There's a part at the beginning where the movie is assuming we're laughing at the sight of a bearded man in women's clothing. How right the narrator is, too bad it's not the man we're laughing at. The best part of the movie is watching everything unfold or refold. Bela and the "devil" both give amazing performances.
I do not recommend one watches this movie alone. PULL THE STINGK !!!
I love Plan 9 From Outer Space, so naturally, I thought that I should see this too. Bad decision. Plan 9 is fantastic for the terrible lines, the bad acting and the quick pace. The best moments of this misguided monstrosity can easily be seen in other movies (Ed Wood, It Came From Hollywood, etc.), so there is no reason to sit through Glen or Glenda unless your life is coming to an end and you want time to pass much more slowly. In all honesty, I have never seen a longer eighty minute film.
Would anyone involved in this 'made in a week' piece of exploitation really think we'd be sitting here discussing this movie 50 years later? No way.
The movie really only continues to exist because of historical value (Transvestitism in the 1950s!) and because it's a work from of Ed Wood.
Now, this movie lacks many essentials such as pacing, production values and structural coherence, but it does have style and sincerity.
Ed Wood seemed to be very sincere and naive at the same time. His movie is very honest and genuine. It seems like a personal request for tolerance and acceptance.
But at the same time, he's got to be naive thinking he can deliver this message wrapped in an obvious art house movie. There's no way Middle America is going to accept such scenes as Bela Lugosi sputtering non sequiturs while his image is dissolved over stock footage of stampeding cattle. It would take a head full of acid to even begin to understand that one.
Such is the case with Ed Wood; sincerity, style and enthusiasm mixed with eccentricities, questionable editing and horrible production values.
The whole reason we even look at this weird, low budget, goofy movie is because of the man who made it and it's place in time.
It's not very good, but it shouldn't be in the Bottom 100.
Ed Wood has the reputation of being the worst director of all time, and it is easy to see why. This "film" is such a remarkable mess, no thinking person could rate it above a "2". Ed Wood loves making movies, the same way pederasts love children. What they both do is unnatural, and must be stopped! The director of the worse-yet "Plan 9 From Outer Space" and the only-slightly better "Bride of the Monster" made movies quick and cheap. It has been shown that such approaches can produce fine films (The Blair Witch Project), but Wood could never show the talent that separates the artist from the hack. Bela Lugosi as a scientist-god. Ed Wood himself playing the lead character. Documentary fashioned, with a 20 minute Ed Wood dream sequence that is staggeringly awful, the only reason to watch it is for its camp value. Be warned! Beware!
Not the worst thing I've ever seen, but one of the funniest and most
rewarding "bad" films you could ask for. A really bad film, like Galaxy Of
Terror, is one that doesn't even give you the pleasure of criticism. Not
so, Glen Or Glenda.
And it curiously brings to mind director Ed Wood's problem, having been dressed as a girl by his mom until a fairly late age. Modern moviegoers wouldn't know, but girl's clothing was, in the previous century, used as generic "kid's" clothing until school age, at which time poorer families would finally buy boy's clothes. Wood's transvestism was probably an unfortunate stressing of this tradition beyond its relevant time period.
As to Wood's other and numerous eccentricities, I have no explanation...
Quite possibly the worst film ever made, this hilariously inept film stars "Daniel Davis" (a pseudonym for Ed Wood) as Glen, a young man who wears women's clothing. Bella Lugosi horrifically overacts in his campy narration ("Bevare...Bevare the great green dragon that sits on your doorstep!") Best parts: the laughably incoherent dream sequence (including a wedding officiated by Satan, and a women tying up another woman) and the "let's go native scene". A must-see for fans of bad movies!
Glen or Glenda? directed by the infamous/famous Ed Wood is a fun picture to watch. Sure, it is outrageously bad. It has a bizarre framed story where Bela Lugosi plays some kind of omnipotent being "pulling the strings." He can change the sexes and situations of two transvestite cases(Glen and then Alan who later turns into Ann through a sex change operation). Lugosi's role has virtually nothing to do with the film and he utters some of the worst dialogue he has ever uttered(finishes film with, "Hmmm, snips and snails, and puppy dog tails!). The rest of the film deals with two cases being discussed between a psychiatrist and a policeman who has just witnessed a transvestite that has committed suicide. I see that many of the reviewers commend Mr. Wood for his bravery on approaching such a topic, but what seems to be lost to many of them is that this man, at least it seems so to me, had one heck of a problem. He is taking abnormal behaviour and trying to justify its existence in a film that is not meant to be a fictionalization but rather a cry from Wood to be "normal" and excepted. Doesn't wash with me, but still is fun to watch for its ineptitude. I will agree the film has "heart," though this is not enough to make it a good film. Some of the scenes are just too bizarre, too incomprehensible for explanation. Wood plays the titular characters(although using another name)and his performance is lacklustre at best. The rest of the cast is equally bad. I can just imagine what poor Bela Lugosi thought when he saw the finished product!
This is one of the classic Bad Films We Love. It's an excellent
introduction to the oeuvre of Ed Woods, one of the worst directors of all
time, who never met a film clip he didn't like.
This is Woods' first film, a paean to transvestitism, which was his own personal passion. One of the many amazing things about this film is that the issue is actually a very serious one, and in the right hands, his basic points about the issue are well made. However, the way the film is made will make you laugh out loud, because it's so inept.
For example, Bela Lugosi is randomly interjected giving diatribes as the scientific voice of society -- but what is a stampede of buffaloes superimposed over one of his speeches doing there? Where does Ed find size 12 pumps with 4 inch heels to coordinate with his outfit, and how did he find a Janet Leigh torpedo bra to fit? Do the scenes of lesbians tying each other up have anything to do with this, and how did he talk his (theoretical) actresses into do the scene?
All of these poignant episodes -- and more! -- await you. See it with the one you love, with a case of beer and cheese doodles at your side, and be prepared to laugh very hard.
BTW: The Rhino version of the movie involves a very good restoration. Try to get this version of the film.
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