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Glen or Glenda (1953)

PG | | Drama | April 1953 (USA)
A psychiatrist tells the stories of a transvestite (Glen or Glenda) and a pseudohermaphrodite (Alan or Anne).


Edward D. Wood Jr.


Edward D. Wood Jr., Edward D. Wood Jr. (original story)




Complete credited cast:
Bela Lugosi ... Scientist
Lyle Talbot ... Inspector Warren
Timothy Farrell Timothy Farrell ... Dr. Alton / Narrator
Dolores Fuller ... Barbara
'Tommy' Haynes 'Tommy' Haynes ... Alan / Anne
Edward D. Wood Jr. ... Glen / Glenda (as Daniel Davis)
Charlie Crafts Charlie Crafts ... Johnny (as Charles Crafts)
Conrad Brooks ... Banker / Reporter / Pickup Artist / Bearded Drag (as Connie Brooks)


"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. A second narrator, The Scientist, delivers commentary which contains more philosophical pronouncements than facts. The film also has flashbacks-within-flashbacks and a strange dream sequence; Inspector Warren's investigation of a transvestite's suicide leads him to learn more about men in women's clothes; Johnny's wife leaves him when she discovers what he wears while she's away; Barbara is oblivious to her fiancé Glen's desire to wear her angora sweater; Satan invades Glen's nightmare; and The Scientist only offers cryptic advice like "Beware of the big green dragon that sits on your doorstep." Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


"I Changed My Sex!" See more »




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


While the film had no sequel, Edward D. Wood Jr. used the character Glen/Glenda again in two of his novels. In "Killer in Drag" (1963), Glen/Glenda has become a serial killer. In its sequel "Death of a Transvestite", Glen/Glenda is executed. See more »


The headline on the newspaper at the beginning has clearly been taped on. See more »


Scientist: Pull the string! Pull the string!
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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 »

Alternate Versions

The Australian release DVD on "Hollyweird" is 71 minutes long. It contains most of the additional material described above. See more »


Featured in The Cinema Snob: Glen or Glenda (2017) See more »


Music by Vittorio Monti
[plays during the bondage portion of the dream sequence]
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User Reviews

an endearing piece of high weirdness
18 November 1999 | by TomC-5See all my reviews

Those who have seen Tim Burton's fine tribute film, ED WOOD, know the story behind this; an inexperienced filmmaker named Edward D. Wood, Jr. talked an exploitation movie producer into hiring him to direct what was initially meant to be the story of Christine Jorgenson, the first (and heavily publicized) case of surgically induced transexualism; this project was alternately to be called "The Christine Jorgenson Story," and later (after Jorgenson changed her mind), "I Changed My Sex." Of course, after Ed Wood got his hands on the basic storyline, he altered it so as to tell the story of his own transvestitism and to plead for greater tolerance and understanding; set against the staid morals of the early 1950s, Ed's pleading was actually ahead of its time.

Now, in wanting to tell this story, but in being constrained by both a shoestring budget and some rather bizarrely unusual filmaking instincts, Ed's efforts went sharply astray. This is, without question, one of the loopiest productions ever put on celluloid, chock full of nonsensical dialogue, amateurishly wooden acting (in fact, Ed's hammy attempt at acting was something out of a 1930s B movie), illogically inserted stock footage (gotta love the stampeding buffalo), and various leaps of logic and good taste. In spite, or perhaps because, of these elements, GLEN OR GLENDA is a thoroughly entertaining and endearing piece of high weirdness. The first time you see it, you won't believe what you are seeing.

Long live the Ed Wood cult! Pull the strings!

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

April 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Glen or Glenda? See more »


Box Office


$20,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Screen Classics (II) See more »
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Technical Specs


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

Sound Mix:

Mono | Stereo (Dolby Digital 2.0)


Color (digitally colored)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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