Glen or Glenda (1953)

1 Overall Score
Story: 1/10
Acting: 1/10
Visuals: 1/10

Teaches how not to make a movie

Pretty much all aspects

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Glen or Glenda

Studio:  Screen Classics

Genre(s):  Drama/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  1953

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


It is nice that the Devil was willing to attend…

The suicide of a transvestite leads police to consult a psychologist Dr. Alton (Timothy Farrell) about the real story behind transvestites.  The psychologist tells the story of Glen (Ed Wood) who is engaged to Barbara (Dolores Fuller) but dealing with being a transvestite, and Alan (“Tommy” Haynes) who is actually a hermaphrodite and going through a sex change.  Can they be saved?

Directed by Ed Wood, Glen or Glenda (originally called I Changed My Sex, He or She, I Led Two Lives or sometimes presented as Glen or Glenda?…with a question mark) is widely considered one of the worst films ever made (often losing to Ed Wood’s other film Plan 9 from Outer Space).  The movie came to be after the highly publicized sex change of Christine Jorgensen in 1952.


They’re all going to laugh at you Glen!!!

Glen or Glenda was meant to be an exploit film due to the popularity curiosity surrounding Christine Jorgensen.  The movie tried to get Jorgensen but wasn’t able to.  Wood was brought in due to the fact he was an actual transvestite and ended up playing a role in the film as the titular Glen…or Glenda?!?

The movie has no story.  It plays like a documentary and that is rather interesting in that it was a period of time where these things weren’t talked about…it is an interesting subject and the movie is pretty frank (and scientific), but that doesn’t make for good watching.  The movie then goes into the two stories:  the longer story of Glen and his fiancée Barbara, then to Alan, then back to Glen and Barbara.  It doesn’t make much sense and then in the middle of the story there is this long S&M section that doesn’t seem to have much to do with the plot…plus Bela Lugosi.


What’s my motivation?

The movie employed Bela Lugosi as “the Scientist”.  He talks in riddles and innuendos “pull the string!!!”  Lugosi was in a bad place at this point and a morphine addict.  He was obviously through in there to put his name on the poster and get people to come.  It becomes this strange drop in point in the movie and becomes artistic through its oddity.

Glen or Glenda is a fun, campy movie.  It feels long even though it comes in just over an hour, and Wood struggled to fill it (the weird scene of the guy coming onto the woman on the couch wasn’t for the movie).  Glen or Glenda was a big part of Tim Burton’s telling of Ed Wood’s life in Ed Wood in 1994 so if you’ve seen that movie, seeing the original is a fun additio

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response