Glen or Glenda (1953)

PG   |    |  Drama


Glen or Glenda (1953) Poster

A psychiatrist tells two stories: one of a transvestite (Glen or Glenda), the other of a pseudohermaphrodite (Alan or Anne).

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4.2/10
7,452

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  • Bela Lugosi in Glen or Glenda (1953)
  • Bela Lugosi in Glen or Glenda (1953)
  • Edward D. Wood Jr. and Bela Lugosi in Glen or Glenda (1953)
  • Edward D. Wood Jr. and Dolores Fuller in Glen or Glenda (1953)
  • Bela Lugosi in Glen or Glenda (1953)
  • Edward D. Wood Jr. and Dolores Fuller in Glen or Glenda (1953)

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23 November 2013 | gizmomogwai
4
| One of the most bewildering movies I've seen
I had a particularly masochistic day today, watching both Manos: The Hands of Fate and Glen or Glenda, both of which have at some point been claimed to be the Worst Movie Ever. Watching both movies in one day made Glen or Glenda look good by comparison, but it is, by itself, one of the most bewildering movies I've seen.

I say this not because of its pleas for tolerance in gender matters. That might have seemed odder in the '50s, when homophobia was more mainstream. We've since moved on to debating whether gays can marry. What's really striking about this movie, rather, is the extended surreal dream sequences and the inexplicable narration of Bela Lugosi. Throw Satan in there! Why not? A herd of buffalo stampeding below Lugosi? Why not? Being trampled by the herd would symbolize being run over by society for an urge to cross-dress, wouldn't it? Symbolism! Except the symbolism goes on way too long, one sensing in an effort by Ed Wood to drag his movie over the 60-minute mark. Eventually, it becomes incomprehensible.

And what of that narration? Bela Lugosi, "the Scientist," is kind of like a half-scientist, half-god character, who's also dark. He has skeletons around him for some reason. He says sinister things. Who or what is he? At the same time, a doctor is telling a police officer about Glen and Glenda. I'm reminded of the Nostalgia Critic's criticism of Rock-A-Doodle- who in god's name is telling the story? "The Scientist" or the doctor?

You can find some elements of this style in a movie like Ingmar Bergman's Persona- random flashing of unpleasant things, apparent dream sequences, a kind of god-like "narration" (a boy watching a TV), but that movie was competently done. Glen or Glenda becomes a giant non sequitur- not the worst movie ever, but worth quite the WTF?

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