Glen or Glenda begins with The Scientist (Bela Lugosi) making comments regarding humanity while working in a make-shift lab in what appears to be his living room. However, The Scientist is more or less presented as a puppet-master to the world as he appears to be the overseer of what transcends during the film. Next we find Patrick/Patricia lying dead on his/her couch. Inspector Warren (Lyle Talbot) reads the suicide note and is confused as to why a man would want to dress in woman’s clothing. His confusion takes him to see Dr. Alton (Timothy Farrell), a psychiatrist who then narrates the story of Glen or Glenda, thus bringing us the story at hand.
Glen (Daniel Davis aka Edward D Wood Jr.) is like most men, he dresses in a nice suit, has a wonderful job and a beautiful girlfriend, Barbara (Dolores Fuller). However, and unlike most men, Glen dresses in women’s clothing when alone. Glen has been doing this for years and at times wonders into the streets dressed this way to window-shop at women’s clothing stores. Glen is engaged to Barbara and is fighting with himself in regards to telling her his secret. Will she leave him if he tells her of his bizarre ways? How will Barbara react if they marry and she finds out afterwards? It’s a terrible tug-of-war that Glen is confronted with daily.
Confused and scared, Glen speaks with his good friend and fellow cross-dresser, John. John was once in the same situation and decided to hide his secret from his wife. His marriage ended when she caught him lounging around in her nightgown. At this point, Glen decides to tell Barbara. Confused as to why Glen is cross-dressing, Barbara accepts Glens affliction and removes her angora sweater giving it to him. Then the soon to be married couple visit a psychiatrist to figure out how to fix Glen’s problem.
Glen or Glenda has been called “possibly the worst movie ever made” by Leonard Maltin’s Movie and Video Guide. This quote, like many others, seems to be the norm when it comes to Glen or Glenda. It’s hard to argue that opinion, however, and while I agree, it’s a bad film and can be used as a lesson on ‘how not to make a picture’. I don’t believe it to be the “the worst movie ever made”. In fact, and in terms of the technical aspects of the film, it’s certainly not Edward D Wood Jr.’s worst film. I think that’s reserved for Plan 9 From Outer Space (at least from a technical standpoint). Don’t get me wrong, Glen or Glenda does have its share of issues, most of them being the story and the long drawn out sequences of soft-core porn and mild bondage scenes used to pad the film before the third half comes along. The third half of the film is the actual story Ed Wood was ‘hired to write and direct’ (but didn’t) and was inserted by the films producer George Weiss. It’s basically the story of Christine Jorgensen whom at the time made national headlines regarding her sex change. Weiss had to add this to the film because that’s what he had promised to those he pre-sold it to.
So is Glen or Glenda the worst movie ever made? No, there are far worse films such as Manos: The Hands Of Fate, Ed Wood’s own Plan 9 From Outer Space and choosing a more modern piece of crap, Troll 2. Mind you, Plan 9 From Outer Space and Troll 2 are films that fall into the ‘they’re so bad, they’re good’ category whereas Glen or Glenda simply falls into the ‘they’re so bad, they’re bad’ category.
Glen or Glenda was written and directed by Edward D Wood Jr. and would be the only film Wood didn’t produce that he directed. Wood also starred in the film as Daniel Davis. Produced by George Weiss (Girl Gang, Key-Hole Varieties and other pieces of rubbish) with a budget of just $61,000 (one would have to wonder where that money went after seeing the film), Glen or Glenda had a very small theatrical release as it had been pre-sold by producer Weiss and was distributed by Columbia Classics. Bela Lugosi as the Scientist would go on to star in other Wood films such as Bride of the Monster and Plan 9 From Outer Space. Lugosi died before Plan 9 was shot but Wood had previously shot scenes with him and used that footage in Plan 9 marketing it as Lugosi’s last film. It’s rumored that Lugosi was paid $1000 for his work in Glen or Glenda and had no idea what sort of film he was involved with. Dolores Fuller, the real-life girlfriend of Wood at the time, was also kept unaware of what sort of film she was involved with. Fuller left Wood shortly after the film wrapped as she found out the story was about Wood (and his cross-dressing ways) and herself. Fuller eventually went on to a song writing career and would write songs for the like of Elvis Presley. It’s said that Presley would record about a dozen of her songs including the song ‘Spinout’.
Favorite Badass Moment: There are none, no, really…
Favorite Boobs or Boobs in a Scene: Sorry kids, no boobs in this one
Favorite Death Scene: None, really. There is one death but its uneventful to say the least
Boob Count: 0 pair
Body Count: 1
IMDB Rating: 3.8 / 10
My Rating: 2.0 / 10
Final Thoughts: Like many of Edward D. Wood Jr.’s films, this ones a stinker. I suspect it has a high rating on the IMDB simply due to the directors current cult following.