Glen or Glenda? (1953) - Rotten Tomatoes

Glen or Glenda? (1953)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

"Give this man satin undies and he can be a credit to his community and his government." Even the most introspective Ingmar Bergman movie has never revealed so much -- or sunk so low -- about a filmmaker. As a character says in Glen or Glenda, "Only the depths of a man's soul can really tell the tale." In this ultimate auteurist case study and legendary filmmaker Edward D. Wood Jr.'s first feature film, the guts of the filmmaker are laid bare for all to see --that it is they can be seen through all the laughter. "The story must be told!" intones the Spirit (Bela Lugosi) as he mixes up an atomic martini with his chemistry set. Then the suicide of the transvestite Patrick/Patricia is shown --along with an insert of a radiator. The inspector (Lyle Talbot) who is investigating the suicide, comes to visit the psychiatrist Dr. Alton (Timothy Farrell) who greets the weary inspector with, "Is this business or pleasure?" The inspector wants to learn about transvestites and Alton enlightens the inspector regarding the growing phenomenon of transvestites, reminding the inspector that "transvestites are not homosexuals." He then describes two case studies to the inspector: the first concerns hapless fiancee Glen (Edward D. Wood Jr.), who is afraid to inform his girlfriend Barbara (Dolores Fuller) that he likes to dress in women's clothing (particularly Barbara's angora sweater); the second involves war veteran Alan ("Tommy" Haines), who (unlike Glen) has underdeveloped females organs and is, in fact, a "pseudohermaphrodite."more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Edward D. Wood Jr.
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 15, 2000
Screen Classics Inc.


Bela Lugosi
as Scientist
Edward D. Wood Jr.
as Glen/Glenda
Lyle Talbot
as Inspector Warren
Tommy Haynes
as Alan/Ann
Timothy Farrell
as Dr. Alton
Conrad Brooks
as Banker / Reporter / ...
Henry Bederski
as Man with Hat and Rec...
George Weiss
as Man at Transvestite'...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Glen or Glenda?

Critic Reviews for Glen or Glenda?

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (3)

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

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top 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.

Full Review… | December 6, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

not really a real movie

April 24, 2008

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

Full Review… | March 9, 2007
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.

Full Review… | August 29, 2006
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for Glen or Glenda?

With awful performances and ludicrous dialogue, this atrocious movie has a lot of heart but sadly no brains, and so it is repetitious, full of nonsensical stock footage and unintentionally surrealistic without making much sense as a narrative whatsoever.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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.

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.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

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