4.2/10
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Glen or Glenda (1953)

PG | | 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:
... Scientist
... Inspector Warren
Timothy Farrell ... Dr. Alton / Narrator
... Barbara
'Tommy' Haynes ... Alan / Anne
... Glen / Glenda (as Daniel Davis)
Charles Crafts ... Johnny
... 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:

What Was "His" Sex...? A Daring Expose Of A Modern Problem... See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | 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?  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Producer George Weiss does a cameo as a janitor. See more »

Goofs

The text accompanying the close-up of a newspaper story headlined "Man Nabbed Dressed As Girl" is a hodge-podge of unrelated paragraphs lifted from stories about tax reform, a prison injury, and faith healing. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: Female has the fluff and the finery, as specified by those who design and sell. Little Miss Female, you should feel quite proud of the situation. You of course realise it's predominantly men who design your clothes, your jewelry, your makeup, your hair styling, your perfume. But life, even thought it's changes are slow, moves on.
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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 Horrible Horror (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Czardas
(uncredited)
Music by Vittorio Monti
[plays during the bondage portion of the dream sequence]
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Ed Wood's shining cinematic moment
17 April 2000 | by See all my reviews

Ed Wood. The so-called "worst director of all time". Sorry, there are plenty of other directors who could take that title because Ed Wood is not that bad of a director nor a bad person. Ed made movies to make movies, not to make a buck. And that's why his films are sort of poignant in their flaws.

"Glen or Glenda?" is a statement, not a film. It is a statement about transvestism, the truth behind it, and gives several (for the most part, factual) cases of transvestites and transsexuals. Wood is world-reknowned for being a transvestite with a fetish for angora sweaters. And here, he is brave enough to cast himself in an autobiographical role (Glen) and let the world know (yet, he hides under the pseudonym of Daniel Davis).

"Glen or Glenda?" is a bad movie lover's dream. Hilarious dialogue, no coherent plotline, and many memorable sequences of transvestites and their hardships. The narrator does a splendid job of camping things up while explaining how a transvestite is not a homosexual, how it is more healthy to wear womens' clothing, and the tragic results of misunderstood transvestites. Plus, you get Bela Lugosi as God (he's nice and campy), several out-of-place striptease and cheesecake scenes (pretty graphic for 1953), and Dolores Fuller (Wood's real-life girlfriend) as Glen's fiancee.

Too many people rated this movie with a 1. But "Glen or Glenda?" is not as bad as "Orgy of the Dead" or other later Ed Wood classics. In fact, "Glen or Glenda?" is arguably Wood's greatest achievement. Check it out, I strongly recommend it.


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