Glen or Glenda

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Glen or Glenda is a 1953 documentary film written and directed by Ed Wood. It stars Ed Wood himself, Bela Lugosi and Wood's then-girlfriend Dolores Fuller. A new musical score for the film was composed in 2010 by Michael Penny. The film is a docudrama about cross-dressing and transsexuality, and is semi-autobiographical in nature. Wood himself was a cross-dresser, and the film is a plea for tolerance. It is widely considered one of the worst films ever. However, it has become a cult film due to its low-budget production values and idiosyncratic style.

Why It Sucks

  1. Poor acting.
  2. The film is so weird and nonsensical for all the wrong reasons. The biggest example is Bela Lugosi's scenes, which have absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the film and frequently intrude on moments that might actually be dramatic.
  3. While the film was progressive for its time regarding acceptance of cross-dressers, the film doesn't know how to deliver its intended message subtly. What's more, the rest of the film is so bizarre and completely nonsensical that odds are most viewers will remember Lugosi's rants and the weird dream sequence at the end over what message the film was actually trying to promote.
  4. False Advertising: The whole Glen/Glenda story isn't the main focus of the film, as it also focuses on similar stories by other cross-dressers. At the same time, the storyline about a transwoman (which is what Wood was actually hired to make in the first place) appears for only above five minutes at the end, feeling like an afterthought.
  5. Painful padding sandwiched in-between scenes that have nothing to do with the rest of the film. These scenes were added in by an executive to make the film more "adult" and make the film longer.
  6. The way in which Glen is "cured" of his crossdressing makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Supposedly, Wood wanted to show Glen continuing to cross-dress, but the producers wouldn't allow it, and so he wrote a deliberately half-assed explanation of how and why Glen stopped doing so.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. As mentioned above, the film was quite progressive for its time as it focused on transgender people, something that was unheard of in 1950s Hollywood films (mostly because the Hays Code banned major studio films from promoting what would now be considered liberal values), let alone around the 1950s entirety.
  2. It inspired the character Glen in Seed of Chucky.

Trivia

  • Alternative titles of these movies are I Changed My Sex!, Glen or Glenda?, I Led Two Lives and He or She?.
  • Despite the film was a public domain since Paramount renewed it for its copyright in 1981 so it won't be long-lasting until the first day of January 2049.
    • A renewal registration identifier RE0000105166 can be found online on the post-1978 copyright catalogues on the US Copyright Office.

Videos

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Comments


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Crs3011

8 months ago
Score 1
At first, I thought it was an action film because the poster looked like it is. Sadly, it isn't.

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