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Glen Or Glenda

Edward D. Wood Jr. , Bela Lugosi , Edward D. Wood Jr.    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 17.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Glen Or Glenda + Bride Of The Monster (1953)  (UK PAL Region 0)
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Product Description

Product Description

He loved women so much, he dared to dress like one! Ed Wood strikes again. The true story of a man whose lust for women drove him to be as close to a woman as he could by trying to become one. The first film based on the strange tastes of legendary filmmaker Ed Wood, Jr., and a sordid plea for acceptance in the world of bondage and the sexually confused, decades before "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and TV's "Ellen." "Glen or Glenda?" stars famous horror icon Bela Lugosi as the "puppet master" and Ed himself in the role of Glen/Glenda. It also marks the screen debut of Wood's main squeeze at the time, Dolores Fuller, who went on to become one of Elvis's star songwriters. An important film document about the early career of a man years ahead of his time. Wildly entertaining!


Often mentioned as a contender for the title of Worst Movie Ever Made, Glen or Glenda? (a.k.a. I Changed My Sex, a.k.a. I Led Two Lives, a.k.a. He or She) remains Ed Wood's weirdest film--and, for the director of Plan 9 from Outer Space, that's saying something. Yet Glen or Glenda? goes way beyond camp, into some unique zone of demented personal expression, an essay/collage/autobiography that is no less fascinating just because it comes from a second-rate mind. Wood himself, under the pseudonym Daniel Davis, plays a transvestite struggling to reveal his tendencies to his wife (the toneless Dolores Fuller, Wood's missus in real life). Mixed in with this exploitation story is a ton of irrelevant stock footage, as well as disconnected glimpses of Béla Lugosi bellowing at the audience; Lugosi's dialogue is a tapestry of non sequiturs and portentous warnings. The behind-the-scenes creation of Glen or Glenda? forms part of the action of Ed Wood, Tim Burton's affectionate tribute to the B-movie master. Wood himself was a transvestite, which accounts for the cracked sincerity of Glen or Glenda?; the passion for angora sweaters is real, not a fluffy plot device. Truly a flabbergasting 68 minutes in film history. --Robert Horton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Open your eyes and mind July 17 2004
Ed Wood's continuing reign as the so-called 'worst director of all time' has earned him many fans, but it has also done his work a disservice: few reviewers dare to go against the tide and write constructively about his movies, preferring instead to hop in the so-bad-it's-good bandwagon. This is unfortunate, because his most interesting films are worthy of critical scrutiny - especially his first project, 'Glen or Glenda' (1953). Whereas most of his other films tackle a specific genre, this movie creates its own: an unlikely but personal blend of documentary and fiction, horror, romance, police procedural, and more. There isn't a single storyline throughout but rather a set of imbricated tales that feed off of each other. The bulk of the narrative is devoted to a couple of case histories which are recounted by a psychiatrist to an inspector, but the film is frequently punctuated by Lugosi's enigmatic character. His 'Scientist' name, much like an early scene in which he prepares a potion, is a nod to his past roles: he is a Demiurge-like figure whose utterances often have anthropogonic connotations and can affect people's lives. Lugosi's performance in this film is quite underrated, and arguably one of his most effective. (He was not quite as memorable in Wood's subsequent 'Bride of the Monster' [1955].) To further complicate the narrative, one of the two case histories related by the psychiatrist - that of Wood himself - features an elaborate dream sequence whose images are suitably bizarre and full of strange symbols. The film always operates on multiple levels at once, since Wood constantly shifts between characters while using a proliferation of contrasting techniques (voice-over, documentary, fiction, stock footage, image juxtapositions, etc.). Read more ›
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3.0 out of 5 stars It's rubbish but entertainingly so June 28 2004
Normally I'd give films 1 or 2 for something that was terrible and that I didn't like. Ed Wood however is an exception. His films are bad but so bad they're good. Basically I could tell you all of what the other reviewers have said here. But I won't other than to say that I got this DVD really cheap in Tower Records ( €6 ) and I can say that this really was cheap entertainment. Lugosi's role in this is somewhat silly given that the film doesn't know whether it wants to be a genuine film or a shockumentary! And in some ways that's part of it's charm while it harms the whole process. It gives Lugosi the chance to spew wannabe crypto mumbo jumbo. In a way, he doesn't really " pull ze strings " so much as cut them off from him.
But give credit to Ed on this. This was a genuine attempt at trying to be risque and his heart was really in this and you can tell that - it just didn't translate as well as it could have. His real life fiance Dolores is in this and well.....she's not exactly a great actress. But in some ways the script is just embarassingly naive on Ed's part that in some ways you just can't really believe in it at all no matter how much heart was put into this.
Another thing you'll notice is the dubbing and it is pretty poor. There's a clear 1 and a half second delay on everyone's speech which can be amusing. In fact some people will be in hysterics and just take the piss out of it
But god bless Ed - he tried, honestly he tried
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As a connoisseur of cult/bizarre films, I've seen some bad movies. If they're interesting enough, bad movies can be incredibly entertaining (i.e. Mystery Science Theater 3000). Even being familiar with Edward D. Wood's work (Plan 9 From Outer Space, Bride of the Monster) did not prepare for the experience of viewing his debut film, Glen or Glenda. Partially based on Wood's own life, the film was a serious attempt to dramatize the lifestyle of a man who is compelled to wear women's clothing. A disclaimer at the beginning proclaims it a film of "stark realism". What follows is 80 minutes of cinematic ineptitude, the likes of which I have never seen. There are plenty of bad films, but this movie is in a class by itself! Even Ed Wood's "classic" Plan 9 From Outer Space, often called the worst movie of all time, looks great in comparison to Glen or Glenda.
The film follows (occasionally) a man named Glen (Wood himself) who likes to wear women's clothing. He is engaged to a girl named Barbara (Dolores Fuller, Wood's girlfriend), but is distraught over whether to reveal his secret to her.
Wood's attempt at "stark realism" is destroyed immediately as soon as we see Bela Lugosi in a chair spouting incoherent nonsense ("Pull de string!", "Beware of the big green dragon that sits on your doorstep. He eats little boys, puppy-dog tails and big fat snails".)
Half the film consists of random stock footage that has no relevance to the material whatsoever. No to mention the absurd dream sequence that, I think, is supposed to represent Glen's confused state of mind, but it really makes no sense at all. It features half-clothed women dancing around for no reason, a torture scene (!!) and even an appearance by the devil (!!!).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Snips and Snails and Puppy-Dog Tails ... Aug. 26 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This film offers a sensitive examination of the dilemmas, fears, and frustrations facing a heterosexual male transvestite on the eve of his marriage. Daniel Davis renders an Oscar-worthy performance in the roles of Glen/Glenda, and Dolores Fuller nicely compliments him as his lovely, intelligent bride-to-be Barbara. The story in brief: after Glen drops his beads to Barbara the couple consult a psychiatrist who suggests love as the most effective remedy for Glen's transvestitism. At film's end Barbara's love has worked miracles: Glen has discarded feathers, furs, and fluff to settle down to a normal colorless life with his wife. (Ah! ... but for how long we wonder? Will Glen indulge his passion for drag when the routines of marriage settle in? Kudos to Bela Lugosi in his demanding role as The Scientist and to 'Tommy' Haynes as Alan, a radiant lad who bravely undergoes painful surgeries in order to alter his sex. Sets and costumes are a credit to the production. A dream episode mid-film contains some questionable bondage footage; the viewer may opt to fast forward without losing any of the story's continuity. I enjoyed this film immensely ... but after playing it over and over at every available opportunity I began to wonder how many of my buddies and male co-workers are wearing nylons and satin undies under their Dickies.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Egads!
Well for those of you who are tired of quality films with rich storylines, try this on for size. Glen or Glenda is an autobiographical documentory based on, starring, and directed... Read more
Published on June 21 2004 by Johny Bottom
5.0 out of 5 stars incredible, wow! outstanding
Yeah, well, maybe not! Still one of the most entertaining films i've ever seen! I get way more laughs out of Ed Wood films than most of the so called "comedies" that... Read more
Published on March 24 2004 by J. Botha
5.0 out of 5 stars The Genius Capitulated
"What would he have given us next?" "Would he have been among the great American auteurs?" These are the questions we'd be asking ourselves if E.D. Wood Jr. Read more
Published on Feb. 27 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Movie
I received the box set for christmas, and they are by far the best movies, Edward D. Wood Jr. have done. He's an excellent Director. I highly recommend the mvies.
Published on Feb. 1 2004 by Stephanie
2.0 out of 5 stars Jaw-droppingly stupid!
This movie is bad even by Ed Wood standards! It somewhat borders the line of "so bad it's good" like Plan 9/Grave Robbers from Outer Space and Jail Bait and just so bad it's BAD! Read more
Published on Jan. 24 2004 by Andre M.
1.0 out of 5 stars Pure Agony
I am a huge fan of the Tim Burton flick Ed Wood. I couldn't wait to see the original Glen or Glenda. Suffice to say this is the worst movie I've ever seen. Read more
Published on Feb. 13 2003 by D. A. Lawson
2.0 out of 5 stars bad DVD transfer of demented masterpiece
The Rhino video of Glen or Glenda is quite a bit superior to this somewhat seedy DVD transfer. The periodic jumps are remarkably annoying, and the sound quality is no picnic... Read more
Published on Jan. 12 2003 by ReadListenWatch
3.0 out of 5 stars What the ----? Three stars for weirdness
This movie's plot is pretty hard to follow, but the concept is so out there, and the images / film segments used to support it can only be described as bizarre, bordering on... Read more
Published on Oct. 29 2002 by Jeremiah J. Timmins
5.0 out of 5 stars What a drag!
The essential drag queen film! Ed really did it with this celluloid eyesore. It screams to be made into a musical!
Published on Oct. 28 2002 by Luis M. Blasini
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