He loved women so much, he dared to dress like one! Ed Wood strikes again. The true story of a man whose lust for women drove him to be as close to a woman as he could by trying to become one. The first film based on the s... more »trange tastes of legendary filmmaker Ed Wood, Jr., and a sordid plea for acceptance in the world of bondage and the sexually confused, decades before "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and TV's "Ellen." "Glen or Glenda?" stars famous horror icon Bela Lugosi as the "puppet master" and Ed himself in the role of Glen/Glenda. It also marks the screen debut of Wood's main squeeze at the time, Dolores Fuller, who went on to become one of Elvis's star songwriters. An important film document about the early career of a man years ahead of his time. Wildly entertaining!« less
"If you like well-directed action scenes with plenty of sfx, maybe mixed with intelligent comedy and some drama, acted out by capable performers, then you won't want to see "Glen or Glenda". However; if you're one of those strange people who take joy in marvelling at just how bad it is possible to make movies, then this is for you.Let me tell you: This is weird. Almost worse than Wood's masterpiece, "Plan 9 from Outer Space", it had me actually gaping in amazement for close to 70 minutes. Originally Wood's attempt at social commentary, trying to open people's eyes to the plight of the closet transvestites of the world (of which he himself was one, and played one in the film), this film has it all: an almost incoherent and incomprehensible story within a story within a story, narrated on several levels. Stock footage galore, among other things, a buffalo herd having, well - nothing to do with the film, and a lot of sweaty soldiers loading shells into cannons and shooting them off for close to 5 minutes, to sorta symbolise WW2 ("And just as quickly as the war had started... it was over!"). Lousy lines, lousy cast (Probably just picked'em up in the bar on his way over to the studio), lousy props (VERY obviously pasted-together newspaper front pages), a positively ludicrous explanation as to why it's so nice to wear women's clothing, a close to 15-minutes long, totally unrelated, episodic dream sequence containing lots of women wearing lingerie while performing various acts (like one woman pouncing upon another woman, binding and gagging her), all to the tune of "Czardas", the most rushed piece of violin music ever, while Wood's dream ego looks horrifiedly at the proceedings. And all under the watchful eye of the overseer Bela Lugosi, sitting in his mad scientist-laboratory and spouting totally wigged-out lines. PULL THE SKRINKS !If you think this review was incoherent, it is because the film itself is incoherent. And if what I've described is your idea of fun, then you'll enjoy it as much as I did. If it isn't, well... "Bevare!""
Terrible, abominable, laughable--I loved it!
Rachel Newstead | Appleton, WI United States | 05/30/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If you've ever heard someone describe a film as being so bad it's good, there's a good chance they're talking about the "masterpieces" of the immortal Edward D. Wood, Jr. And if you want to see just how bad "bad" can get, watch "Glen or Glenda." It's so bad you'll alternate between uncontrollable laughter and mind-numbing, jaw-dropping amazement.Bless him, his heart was in the right place, but his brain must have been orbiting Pluto. (Where on earth did he get the idea that wearing hats makes men bald, anyway?) Wildly incongruous montage sequences, dialogue (and acting) that wouldn't pass muster in a junior-high school Christmas pageant, and Bela Lugosi's somber ranting make this film a unique experience, if nothing else. Add to that an out-of-nowhere sadomasochistic dream sequence set to frenetic violin music, and you're off on a chaotic (and scary) journey through Ed Wood's mind. At times, the trip has the morbid appeal one gets from viewing a train wreck.So why do I love this film? Well, being a transsexual, I have to look for sympathy where I can find it, and Wood is indeed sympathetic in his own ham-fisted way. I could have done without the loopy psychoanalysis (featuring the most implausible movie shrink in history). Did Wood, a crossdresser himself, really think that the love of a good woman was all someone like him needed, or was he simply trying to make this mess more palatable to 1953 audiences? I get the feeling even HE wasn't sure.An interesting side note--Wood was "inspired" to produce his magnum opus at the urging of grade-Z movie schlockmeister George Weiss, who wanted to cash in on Christine Jorgenson's recent sex change (but couldn't get Jorgenson to appear). Not to be outdone, Wood replaces Christine's story with the story of Glen, a crossdresser about to be married, living in terror of what his fiancee might think if she knew his secret. Before we even get to this part of the story, we are treated to lengthy narration on the tightness and roughness of men's clothing. (Which makes me wonder how much time Wood really spent in women's clothes--he apparently never wore a bra for any length of time). In what was obviously a move to keep Weiss from strangling him, Wood does devote the last ten minutes or so of the film to an actual transsexual, (I think?) Alan/Ann. Miraculously, this is probably the most coherent part of the entire film, and does indeed give the audience a glimpse of what a transsexual must go through (it hasn't gotten that much easier in half a century).Still, looking at this film, I'm not sure if it actually helped transgendered people--or set us back a decade or two."
If you think you've seen bad movies.... Beware.... Beware...
FairiesWearBoots8272 | USA | 11/26/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As a connoisseur of cult/bizarre films, I've seen some bad movies. If they're interesting enough, bad movies can be incredibly entertaining (i.e. Mystery Science Theater 3000). Even being familiar with Edward D. Wood's work (Plan 9 From Outer Space, Bride of the Monster) did not prepare for the experience of viewing his debut film, Glen or Glenda. Partially based on Wood's own life, the film was a serious attempt to dramatize the lifestyle of a man who is compelled to wear women's clothing. A disclaimer at the beginning proclaims it a film of "stark realism". What follows is 80 minutes of cinematic ineptitude, the likes of which I have never seen. There are plenty of bad films, but this movie is in a class by itself! Even Ed Wood's "classic" Plan 9 From Outer Space, often called the worst movie of all time, looks great in comparison to Glen or Glenda.The film follows (occasionally) a man named Glen (Wood himself) who likes to wear women's clothing. He is engaged to a girl named Barbara (Dolores Fuller, Wood's girlfriend), but is distraught over whether to reveal his secret to her.
Wood's attempt at "stark realism" is destroyed immediately as soon as we see Bela Lugosi in a chair spouting incoherent nonsense ("Pull de string!", "Beware of the big green dragon that sits on your doorstep. He eats little boys, puppy-dog tails and big fat snails".)Half the film consists of random stock footage that has no relevance to the material whatsoever. No to mention the absurd dream sequence that, I think, is supposed to represent Glen's confused state of mind, but it really makes no sense at all. It features half-clothed women dancing around for no reason, a torture scene (!!) and even an appearance by the devil (!!!). By this point, the audience is scratching their heads and wondering what the heck is going on. It really must be seen to be believed.For fans of the director's work, Glen or Glenda is a must-see. Even though it's unbelievably terrible, the film is not without entertainment value. It has many laugh-out-loud moments, and the film overall is so bizarre that is should not be missed by cult movie fanatics."
This Movie is PRICELESS
badmovieman | KY | 06/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is no trick to making a normal bad movie. Most of the movies out there are bad or boring, or both. The people involved generally know the movie isn't very good. They are film professionals who realize they haven't brought what is necessary to create a quality movie. It may be due to time or a lack of money to hire the best actors and script writers. It may be pressure to clone the latest box office smash and capitalize on it's success. Whatever the reason it isn't because the director is so inept, incompetent, foolish, and inexperienced that they think incoherent rambling makes a fine picture.
That is precisely why "Glen or Glenda" is a priceless gem. Ed Wood poured his heart and soul into what he considered a hard hitting drama to enlighten the masses about cross dressing men. A cross dresser himself, Wood even wore women's underwear under his uniform while in the military. He felt this movie would educate, inform, and bring a better understanding about cross dressing. He actually thought it was a great movie.
Of course what he made was a wildly incoherent mess, full of unrelated scenes and crazy dialog. The Bela Lagosi character, who is playing God, rambles about "Pulling skrings" while buffalos stampede across the screen. There are dream sequences where scantily clad women slink about while Wood stands offstage and looks "Horrified". It simply cannot be described and has nothing to do with the plot. In fact, nothing in the movie has anything to do with the plot. That in itself is a remarkable achievement.
"Glen or Glenda" is a high water mark in bad movies. Along with "Robot Monster" and his own "Plan 9 from Outer Space", it has stood the test of time to become an icon. Watch it and be amazed."
Man On a Mission
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 06/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'll try not to repeat what Amazon reviewers have already said about this film. Were it a minute longer, it would be unbearable for even a single viewing. But as it stands, "Glen or Glenda" is worse than "Plan 9 From Outer Space" and consequently more enjoyable (it's also shorter). Three additional points about the film:
1. Ed Wood has the magnified "didactic" sensibility of a preacher or compulsive rhetorician. His primary mode of development is repetition. The story never gets under way because Ed keeps announcing the "premise" of his movie, postponing the impossible challenge of telling a story on film. In effect, we never get beyond the title. Not only his voice-over narration but his manipulation of stock footage and use of non-narrative montage mark him as the ultimate cinematic huckster or pitch man.
2. Ed's choice of scenes tells us virtually nothing about "Glen" but probably reveals a lot about Ed. From the World War II footage to strip-tease and B&D scenes (mild) Ed shows that he's a "slightly" deviant, cross-dressing heterosexual but sufficiently "alternative" to have empathy for transsexuals. He's also clearly an individual who has struggled with his share of desires and demons.
3. However bad, the film must be judged daring for a 1953 film, a time when the word "virgin" and even "sex" was taboo on the screen. (The film even discusses and represents homosexuality.) Moreover, apart from the treatment, Ed's choice of subject matter insures the film will be taken with more than a little seriousness by viewers who share Ed's urges and interests. In that respect, "Glen or Glenda?" is more "relevant" than ever, since I can't think of any other commercial movie that approaches the same subject as head-on as this one. In fact, most gender-bender movies, from "Some Like It Hot" to "The Bird Cage," are far more exploitive of their subject matter than is Ed Wood. Make no mistake: he's clearly a man on a mission."