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Glen or Glenda

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Overview

Edward D. Wood Jr.'s Glen or Glenda has had a strange distribution history. Wood's debut directorial effort was produced by exploitation film specialist George Weiss and was seen on cheap second-run circuits in the mid-'50s before it disappeared. For decades, it lurked on filmographies of Bela Lugosi, its nominal star, and even stills of it were seldom seen. Then Warren Beatty saw the movie and thought it had the potential to be another Reefer Madness; he persuaded Paramount Pictures to distribute a reissue of ...
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DVD (Black & White / Mono / Dolby 5.1)
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Overview

Edward D. Wood Jr.'s Glen or Glenda has had a strange distribution history. Wood's debut directorial effort was produced by exploitation film specialist George Weiss and was seen on cheap second-run circuits in the mid-'50s before it disappeared. For decades, it lurked on filmographies of Bela Lugosi, its nominal star, and even stills of it were seldom seen. Then Warren Beatty saw the movie and thought it had the potential to be another Reefer Madness; he persuaded Paramount Pictures to distribute a reissue of the movie in the early '80s, and it was well received as an unintentionally campy vehicle, although it never became the kind of ubiquitous campus entertainment fixture that Reefer Madness was. And then it disappeared again, until Wade Williams arranged for its reissue on video. The DVD has its clever elements -- the menu, which opens automatically on start-up, is designed in an entertaining manner that exploits the visual elements of the trailer and is fun to watch by itself. The movie is mastered from what is credited, at the end, as a 25th anniversary edition, which would place it in 1978, just about the time that Edward D. Wood Jr. passed away. There are frames missing and there's some damage to the audio track at some awkward and key moments in the narrative. The transfer itself, however, is very nicely done within the limitations of the source; the contrast and clarity are generally uniform, although the extended dream/fantasy sequence obviously took some work to get it to look like the rest of the movie. The 68-minute movie is broken into 16 chapters, which is more than adequate. The only bonus material is a trailer that is in somewhat rough shape but otherwise a bit surprising for its two-minute length (rather ambitious for a film of this type). In contrast to several other titles in the Wade Williams Collection, of which this release is a part, the annotation is limited, which is a shame; Glen or Glenda has serious flaws (mostly of a uniquely "Woodian" nature, i.e. bizarre word usages in the script, strange syntax in the dialogue, and wooden -- no pun -- direction), but it is a fascinating artifact of its time as well as its maker's career, and it deserved better treatment.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Andrea LeVasseur
In 1953, George Jorgensen had an operation to become Christine Jorgenson, in what would become the first largely publicized sex-change operation. This sensational story in the headlines interested producer George Weiss, which made it possible for the little-known director Edward D. Wood Jr. to make his first feature. As a married heterosexual and practicing cross-dresser, Wood wanted to make an intensely personal film dealing with tolerance for his lifestyle, starring himself in a cashmere sweater. For very little money and a shooting schedule of less than two weeks, Glen or Glenda? was hardly seen by anyone outside the budding exploitation circuit at the time of its release. Using a construction of flashbacks as told through rambling pseudoscience, the movie feels like an educational film strip, albeit a poorly constructed and incomprehensible one. A showcase of Wood's infamous ineptitude, the personal stories of two transvestites are spoken with ridiculous dialogue, terrible acting, and interspersed with irrelevant stock footage. Every so often, a drug-addicted Bela Lugosi would appear with some strange and pointless narration. For all the fun to be had by the silly inconsistencies, Glen or Glenda? is also increasingly dull. It may be memorable as one of worst movies ever made, but its content is not very exciting compared to the horror and sci-fi travesties of Wood's later work.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/15/2000
  • UPC: 014381857825
  • Original Release: 1953
  • Rating:

  • Source: Image Entertainment
  • Presentation: Black & White / Mono / Dolby 5.1
  • Sound: Dolby Digital, monaural
  • Time: 1:08:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 7,343

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bela Lugosi Scientist
Daniel Davis [Edward D. Wood, Jr.] Glen/Glenda
Dolores Fuller Barbara
Lyle Talbot Police Inspector Warren
Tommy Haynes Alan/Ann
Timothy Farrell Dr. Alton
Conrad Brooks
George G. Weiss
Donald Woods
Charles Crafts Johnny
Connie Brooks Banker
Technical Credits
Edward D. Wood Jr. Director, Screenwriter
Susan Olney Executive Producer
Barry Sandrew Executive Producer
Bud Schelling Editor
Harry Thomas Makeup
William C. Thompson Cinematographer
George G. Weiss Producer
Ben Winkler Sound/Sound Designer
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Scene Index

Side #1--
0. Chapter Index
1. Main Title; the Signs of the Ages [5:39]
2. A Life is Ended [6:09]
3. Behin Locked Doors [9:22]
4. What is a Transvestite? [4:15]
5. "Pull the String!" [:51]
6. Secret Identity [3:03]
7. Some Sound Advice [3:56]
8. Glen Pops the Question [1:59]
9. "Beware...Beware" [14:11]
10. Laying It on the Line [4:34]
11. Alan's Tale [7:59]
12. How to Be a Woman [1:43]
13. Getting Help [2:11]
14. A Happy Ending [:47]
15. "But What of the Others?" [1:21]
16. End Credits [:18]
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Menu

Side #1--
   Start the Film
   Theatrical Trailer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    You gotta see it to believe it!

    It's not my favorite Ed Wood movie--that would be PLAN NINE. But GLEN OR GLENDA is definitely worth seeing...a whole bunch of times. It's got Bela Lugosi as 'God', who also doubles as one of the movie's TWO narrators, and a higher percentage of stock footage than any other picture I can think of. It also pretty impressive acting performance by Ed Wood himself, who actually makes you believe he wants to wear women's clothing. Oh, that right! He really DID want to wear women's clothing, so maybe it's not THAT impressive after all. But still, the sight of Ed, all dolled up in a skirt, heels and an angora sweater is really an indelible movie moment you won't want to cheat yourself out of.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Jaw-droppingly Good-Bad *and* Tedious

    I read somewhere that this film ''runs only an hour but it feels like three.'' Despite that indisputable fact, it's still highly entertaining. Two stories in one, it's about a man who secretly dresses like a woman and wants to tell his fiance. The other is about a serviceman who wants to become a woman via surgery. The dialogue is outrageously stilted and nonsensical, and some of the surreal dream sequence borders on S&M porn. But just that shot of Ed Wood Jr. passing by a woman's dress shop (shown over and over and over) with deep longing in his eyes is well worth the viewing investment.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Tim Burton Couldn't Have Done It Better ...

    If you are looking for a movie biopic of the charismatic enigma that was Edward D. Wood Jr, then look no further. This is Ed's life, thinly veiled as an exploitation film cashing in on sex change headlines. Ed wrestled with transvestism and with his own lifestyle growing up. When he had a chance to make a movie, any movie, he twisted and turned the plot to essentially be two sties - one being the sex change shmaltz he was obligated to discuss, and two being his own life story with him as Glen. He wrote, dirested and starred in it because it was HIS LIFE he was putting onto the screen. Tim Burton's film is entertaining and inspirational but for a TRUE, honest, heartfelt look at who Wood REALLY was, all you need is to look at Glen or Glenda and think of the savior of bad films and Woodites (Ed Wood-followers) everywhere, Mr. Edward D. Wood Jr!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews