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|3 reviews in total|
Billy's a penniless American teenager shipped off to spend the summer with
his estranged dad, a sleazy Greek resort manager. He spends his free time
wandering in the hills, and stumbles on an ancient ruin where three pretty,
if flat-chested, demigoddesses have been imprisoned for the last few
millennia. He speaks the magic words, returning them to life as his very
high-maintenance handmaidens. Billy feels he must hide them at all costs,
but they'd rather spend their time running around the beach in their
On the IMDb credits page for this movie, the only cast member listed is the lead actor-- which is almost fair, since he seems to be the only who speaks enough English to understand his lines. Not that it matters-- two thirds of the film is taken up with dialogue-less beach scenes with tedious theme music played over and over. And despite the filmmakers' best intentions, this really turns out to be a kind of anti-travelogue, shot in an utterly depressing resort with a hotel that looks more like a waste-water treatment plant.
And by the way, even though they keep insisting that the story takes place in Greece, it was actually shot in Romania. That's right-- it's a Romanian beach movie-- what else do you need to know?
Ed Wood was like Dan Quayle: a living, breathing refutation of the Peter
Principle, he ascended to the glass ceiling of his incompetence and shot
through it like a rocket, raining bloody shards on the ground. This makes
him a Representative Man, in a way. Americans will always love men who
succeed solely on the basis of cocky optimism, which is what made Tim
Burton's film "Ed Wood" so appealing.
Still, none of that made him a director capable of producing watchable movies. Burton got to the root of Wood's amateurishness in a scene in which a backer takes Ed to task for the continuity problems in one of his pictures. Ed brushes him off, saying no one will notice; after all, "Moviemaking isn't about the small details-- it's about the big picture!"
Well, actually, it is about the small details. Wood, however, would never let himself be distracted from his themes to worry small stuff like characterization or plot. It quickly becomes obvious that he felt his job was done once he managed to sell his treatment and secure backing for a picture; the rest was just having fun on the set with his cronies.
That said, "Glen or Glenda?" is personal and idiosyncratic enough to hold the interest of a charitable viewer. The scenes of a dying Bela Lugosi intoning, "Snips and Snails and PUPPY DOGS' TAILS!" have a certain train-wreck fascination. When all's said and done, though, this is just too awful even for the "so-bad-it's-good" shelf. If you must rent an Ed Wood video, this is the one to rent-- but save your popcorn money to buy Tylenol.
For a nominal "suspense" film, this provides precious few thrills. The
romantic subplot involving wimpy, neurotic Charlotte Rampling and the
less-than-compelling Derek de Lint goes nowhere. Pointless fantasy sequences
are introduced, and the backstory relating to the serial killings of the
local drag population is never developed.
On the plus side, the cinematography is a treat-- long moody sequences shot in a half-empty Belgian seacoast resort. And this is, after all, the film that pioneered the "Crying Game" scene-- reason enough to see it, in my book.