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Glen or Glenda? (1953)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 2
Fresh: 0 | Rotten: 2



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Average Rating: 2.6/5
User Ratings: 7,159

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Movie Info

In his heart-felt cinematic debut, Edward D. Wood, Jr. himself stars under the pseudonym Daniel Davis as a young man with a dilemma: should he tell his lovely young fiancee (played by real-life girlfriend Dolores Fuller) about his burning desire to cross-dress? She has begun to notice articles of clothing missing from her closet; the suspense builds...what should he do? Bela Lugosi plays the omniscient narrator; note his conviction as he "pulls the strings." Amidst this unintentionally hilarious


Drama, Classics

Edward D. Wood Jr.

Feb 15, 2000

Screen Classics Inc.

Watch It Now



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All Critics (23) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (7) | Rotten (15) | DVD (2)

This well-meaning disaster, rescued from the obscurity it surely craves, is without doubt a candidate for one of the worst films ever made.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It isn't quite a camp classic, although it's dreadful enough to have a certain comic appeal. ''Glen or Glenda'' is also a film of great conviction in its way, and that tends to interfere with the fun.

December 6, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

not really a real movie

April 24, 2008 | Comment (1)

as insanely bad as this movie is, it retains perverse pleasures that serve it well as a cult icon

March 9, 2007 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews
Old School Reviews

The passage of time has not transformed Glen or Glenda? into a good movie; it has, however, revealed it to be a braver film than anyone had ever imagined.

August 29, 2006 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Even in the camp cult genres this is still dreadful.

March 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Film4

Funny to watch, but not as funny as you might remember.

December 11, 2004
7M Pictures

Excellent movie to laugh at. Rent it and have a ball!

August 12, 2003
Juicy Cerebellum

It baffles science and logic and rudimentary narrative skills, but it's fascinating.

March 19, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

An Ed Wood classic! Pull the string!

September 9, 2002
Aisle Seat

Terrible and inept, but, oh God, is it funny!

August 22, 2002
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

Just because Ed Wood's become a cultural icon, that doesn't make this movie any less hilariously inept.

July 25, 2002

Ed Wood's infamous cross-dressing anti-classic.

September 7, 2001 Full Review Source: Wired

There are bad movies. Then there are really bad movies. Then there are laughably bad movies. And somewhere under there, resides the lifework of Edward D. Wood, Jr.

February 27, 2001 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

In every technical aspect, it's just bad. However, only Ed Wood could pull off being so bad that it's good -- good in a funny, screwed up way.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

Audience Reviews for Glen or Glenda?

A documentary, of sorts, about a closeted transvestite named Glen who struggles over whether to tell his secret to his fiancée. The story is interrupted by a bizarre 14-minute dream sequence with bondage and the Devil, and numerous incomprehensible bits with omniscient "scientist" Bela Lugosi yelling "pull the string"! It's terrible, and it's great, so the rating averages out. A must-see for adventurous viewers, but those with more conventional tastes will find its lack of plot and structure to be torture.
May 26, 2014
Greg S

Super Reviewer

Part docudrama, part art house film, all idiosyncratic/eccentric in the extreme. Yes, this is a bad film, not the worst of all time (any more), but still quite bad, mainly due to the incoherent nature of the story and the poor execution/ineptitude of those involved with its creation. There are some standout moments though, especially those involving Bela Lugosi's nonsensical ramblings.

If you really want to see something surreal and bizarre, then give this one a watch.
November 15, 2012
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

With awful performances and ludicrous dialogue, this atrocious movie has a lot of heart but no brains. It is repetitious and full of nonsensical stock footage, being unintentionally surrealistic but making little sense as a narrative whatsoever.
November 13, 2012

Super Reviewer

Looking to capitalize on the Christine Jorgensen case, a film distributer hired Ed Wood to make a low budget exploitative film about transsexualism (in five days, no less). Wood used his own proclivities towards transvesticism as one of the reasons he was so qualified to direct the film. He also had a genuine "star" to put into the film as he was friends with legendary actor Bela Lugosi. Wood was reputed to be a fan of Orson Welles, and claimed to be the only other filmmaker of his era who was a writer, actor and director of his own films. But while Woods may have appreciated the artistic flair of Welles, he possessed none of the ability to translate artistry to film. Indeed, Glen or Glenda is confusingly bizarre, with Lugosi playing some sort of mad scientist who recites vague prose while stock footage is super-imposed over his face. Regardless of Bela Lugosi's part in the film, the story revolves around Glen, a transvestite who must tell his fiance the truth about his secret fetish. There is a dream sequence with some S&M stuff involved, and then some more stock footage is added and Lugosi recites some more unrelated verse. There is a staggering ineptitude to the filmmaking that tries to do too much with too little. Although the film barely passes the hour mark, it feels heavily padded with unnecessary and gratuitous scenes that show a distinct lack of editing. But if you are watching Glen or Glenda, then you most likely know who Ed Wood is and how bad his films are reputed to be. So it should come as no surprise to you that this film is a trainwreck. What is surprising is just how fascinating this trainwreck is, and how much fun it is. Wood, for all his faults, injected a sense of wonder into all his projects, and while Glen or Glenda is helplessly, hopelessly ludicrous, it is also, like many of Wood's other films, quite a bit of fun.
March 29, 2012
Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

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