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GLEN OR GLENDA? - 2 Slimes
Not Rated
Copyright 1953 Screen Classics
Reviewed by Astrid Jakobs on 27 August 2008

The Characters:  

  • Glen/Glenda - Ed Wood! He's a seemingly normal man who is about to be wed to beautiful -Barbara. The thing is, Glen likes to dress in woman's clothing. He has an alter ego named Glenda. It's a secret he is too afraid to reveal to Barbara. The stress of it all causes some mental problems and hallucinations throughout the movie.
  • Scientist - Bela Lugosi! I'm not quite sure what his role is in this movie. Most of the time he just sits in a chair reciting weird nursery rhymes and spying on different people. Maybe he's supposed to be God?
  • Barbara - Glen's beautiful fiance. She's very caring and understanding.
  • Inspector Warren - Just a generic inspector of sorts. He's older and a bit old-fashioned. The investigation of a transvestite's suicide causes him to be so disturbed, he goes to a Dr. Alton to learn about that "affliction" fully.
  • Dr. Alton - A liberal doctor who seems to specialize in transvestitism and sex changes.
  • Alan/Ann - A pseduhermaphrodite. He's so uncomfortable being a man that when he finds out that he has female genitalia hidden away in his body, he opts for a sex change.
  • Satan - Basically he only appears in Glen's hallucinations. He just dances around, freaking Ed out.
  • Patrick/Patricia - A suicide victim. After being arrested for the 4th time for wearing woman's clothing out in public, he decides life just isn't worth it if he can't wear what he wants.
  • Random women - Appear in Glen's hallucinations. They take part in some light S&M and dance sexily. I'm not really sure what the point of them appearing is at all.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

The story begins with Bela Lugosi who imparts some words of wisdom. Throughout the movie, Lugosi will pop up here and there saying this and that. None of it pertains to the story, but hey, whatever works, right?

A transvestite just can't catch a break! Inspector Warren is called to investigate a suicide of a transvestite who, after being arrested 4 times, packs it in. Although Inspector Warren finds this sort of behaviour incomprehensible, he'd like to learn more about it. He heads off to Dr. Alton who specializes in that sort of thing. Dr. Alton beings that tale of Glen or Glenda, a poor man who just wanted to wear a pink angora sweater.

Glen is about marry Barbara. At the dinner table, she casually mentions that his fingernails are getting almost as long as hers. This causes Glen to break out in cold sweat. Glen always seems to act like a flake. No wonder Barbara suspects something. All the time, he's either wound up tighter than a clock or staring off moodily into space.

Of course, his secret is that he likes wearing woman's clothing. The movie makes sure to stress the point that Glen is NOT a homosexual. He spends his days pretending to be a woman in public so that he won't get arrested. He spends his nights with Barbara being regular Glen who is probably developing an ulcer.

His predicament is weighing heavy on him causing his mind to start cracking under the pressure. He goes to his friend Johnny for advice. Johnny advises him to tell Barbara immeadiately otherwise what happened to him could happen to Glen. Johnny was chilling at home in his silky dressing gown, when his wife happened to come home early from work. Oh man! You should've seen the look on her face! It was priceless! Needless to say, their marriage ends in divorce. Instead of calming Glen, it only adds to his worries.

One day, the pressure finally gets to him. He loses it completely. A weird daydream/hallucination ensues in which Glen is being wed to Barbara with Satan acting as the best man. Cut to a man whipping a woman with a belt. Cut to a chubby girl dancing provocatively. Cut to some mild S&M and bondage. Cut to a rape scence. Finally, cut to everybody laughing at Glen. This was seriously one of the weirdest things I have ever seen. There was no explanation as to why there was so much sexual violence going on.

Finally, Glen tells Barbara his horrible secret. She's understanding and even gives him her pink angora sweater! Wow! What a happy ending! Oh wait...we're not done yet.

Now the story of Alan/Ann. Alan was a man who was also a transvestite. He enjoyed doing "woman's work" and had, according to Dr. Alton, "girlish hips". After serving his country in World War II, he goes to see Dr. Alton for therapy. It turns out Alan is a pseudohermaphrodite. His male genitalia are all formed and showing, but inside him, there is female genitalia. Alan begins the painful process of being Ann. Um...lady still looks like a dude.

Glen and Barbara go back to Dr. Alton for counselling where it is revealed that due to Glen's unhappy childhood, Glenda was formed to act as his mother and sister. If Barbara can take on all the personality traits of both of them and still be Barbara, Glenda will eventually leave. That seems a lot to ask, but I have a feeling that Barbara is probably desperate to get rid of Glenda. I just hope Glen doesn't bring Glenda into the bedroom with him.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Transvestitism causes mental disorders.
  • You can't be a real transvestite until you have a female alter ego.
  • God resides in a chamber filled with skulls and skeletons. In his spare time, he practices chemistry.
  • Ed Wood had a thing against the word "transvestite".
  • If you admire silk too long, you're a weirdo.
  • A sex change operation can be performed on the side of the body.
  • Hats cause baldness.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 1 min - Disclaimer!
  • 12 mins - What a babe! Wait a minute...there's something not right here.
  • 13 mins - Strange...that article doesn't mention anything about the headline.
  • 20 mins - You are so busted!
  • 35 mins - What the hell are you going on about, Bela?
  • 36 mins - Fantasy sequence that lasts almost 15 minutes. Satan, chubby girls, bondage, Bela Lugosi. This is starting to get weird.
  • 55 mins - World War II stock footage!

Quotes: 

  • Dr. Alton: "Give this man satin undies, a dress, a sweater, and a skirt, or even the lounging outfit he has on, and he's the happiest individual in the world."
  • Steel Worker: "Do you realize what would happen if every man in the country that wanted to wear women's clothes, or felt like a woman, when to their doctors and wanted a sex change?"
  • Scientist: "Beware! Beware of the big green dragon that sits on your doorstep. He eats little boys...puppy dog tails, and BIG FAT SNAILS...beware...take care...beware!"
  • Dr. Alton: "But in time, Alan is Ann - a very happy, lovely young lady that modern medicine and science has created almost a as Frankenstein monster."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note glenorglenda1.wav Dr. Alton: "Let's get our stories straight. You're referring to the suicide of the transvestite?"
Insp. Warren: "If that's the word you men of medical science use for a man who wears woman's clothing, yes."
Dr. Alton: "Yes, in cold technical language, that's the word."
Green Music Note glenorglenda2.wav Glen's Dad: "You want to borrow your sister's dress? What for?"
Glen: "I want to wear it to the Halloween party."
Glen's Dad: "There are names for boys who go around wearing girl's clothes!"
Glen's Mom: "Oh, don't be silly, darling. You go ahead and wear your sister's dress, Glen. You always did look much better as a girl than you did as a man."
Green Music Note glenorglenda3.wav Dr. Alton: "After school, Alan would go home to find the mother who had always wanted a girl, and the father who didn't care one way or the other. He enjoyed doing the woman's work around the house. Alan was becoming a woman, and didn't realize it. A woman in mind only, but the mind rules."
Green Music Note glenorglenda4.wav Barbara: "Supposing Glen never gets over wearing girl's clothing?"
Dr. Alton: "Would it matter to you much?"
Barbara: "I love Glen. I'll do everything I can to make him happy."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

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 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipglenorglenda1.mpg - 4.9m
Glenda relaxing at home.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1] 2
Re: Glen or Glenda?
Reply #1. Posted on August 27, 2008, 08:37:30 PM by Rev. Powell
It was the hallucination scene in GLEN OR GLENDA that started me on my love of bad movies.  I didn't know anyone could film someone like that--and I didn't yet understand why anyone would film something like that!
Re: Glen or Glenda?
Reply #2. Posted on August 28, 2008, 04:51:15 AM by RCMerchant
How that movie ever saw the light of day is beyond me....amazingly insane.  Poor Bela....what was I thinking...I must have...er...he must have been desprate...or drunk...or both...!  Bluesad
Re: Glen or Glenda?
Reply #3. Posted on August 28, 2008, 10:24:46 AM by schmendrik
Made famous in the film "Ed Wood", the writer/director of both this and the possibly worst SF movie of all time, "Plan 9 from Outer Space".

According to that film, Wood was a transvestite himself so he thought this was a really important story to tell.

The big mysteries for me are how Wood could keep getting funding to make his terrible movies, and why the heck Lugosi agreed to appear in them. Apparently he was down on his luck, long past his Dracula days, but still...

Where do you see this movie? Is it on DVD?
Re: Glen or Glenda?
Reply #4. Posted on August 28, 2008, 10:52:21 AM by Sardu
Glen is not a homosexual!!


Glenda is, though.
Re: Glen or Glenda?
Reply #5. Posted on August 28, 2008, 11:03:40 AM by Lurple
Poor old Lugosi was apparently in dire financial straights (as well as a addict) by the time he was working in these pictures for Ed Wood, which explains a lot.

It still doesn't explain Ed Wood's direction, though.   Wink
Re: Glen or Glenda?
Reply #6. Posted on August 28, 2008, 11:58:37 AM by Rev. Powell

Where do you see this movie? Is it on DVD?

Go to the review.  Look to the right of the title.  There is a button there saying "Buy It!" which will allow you to purchase the DVD from Amazon, and support this site at the same time.
Re: Glen or Glenda?
Reply #7. Posted on August 29, 2008, 12:10:30 PM by HarlotBug3
I don't think I could process the fact that this movie was directed by and starring Ed Wood while I was actually watching it. Brain might've exploded.

This review is a bit shallow as the movie is more than simply bad; it is genuinely stupefying. I'm still at a loss to approach the list of everything wrong with it.

It's easy to laugh at because transgendered people are easy to laugh at (especially if you're ideas about sex haven't advanced since puberty) but I dare any conscious movie-watcher to even attempt viewing this one seriously.   
Re: Glen or Glenda?
Reply #8. Posted on August 31, 2008, 01:01:13 PM by WingedSerpent
None of the sound bytes are Bela saying "Pull the Strings, Pull the Strings"  That's the classic line from this movie.
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