Glen or Glenda

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Glen or Glenda (title changed from I Changed My Sex!) is a 1953 exploitation film written, directed by, and starring Ed Wood, and featuring Bela Lugosi, and Wood's then-girlfriend Dolores Fuller. The title is often given as Glen or Glenda?, but the question mark is not present in the film itself. The film is a docudrama about cross-dressing and transsexuality, and is semi-autobiographical in nature. Wood himself was a crossdresser, and the film is a plea for tolerance. However, it has become a cult film due to its low-budget production values and idiosyncratic style. The film was rated Adults Only.

Contents

Plot

Glen or Glenda

The first part of the film begins with a narrator called The Scientist (Bela Lugosi) making cryptic comments about humanity. The film proper opens with Inspector Warren finding the corpse of a male transvestite named Patrick/Patricia, who has committed suicide. Wanting to know more about cross-dressing, Warren seeks out Dr. Alton, who narrates for him the story of Glen/Glenda. However, at several points Alton appears to address the viewer rather than Inspector Warren, and the unclear role of the Scientist as narrator makes things even more confusing. Glen is shown studying women's clothes in a shop window. Dr. Alton points out that men's clothes are dull and restrictive, whereas women can adorn themselves with attractive clothing. He also makes some bizarre statements, such as that baldness is caused by hats. Glen reads about sex change operations in a newspaper, then meets with Barbara, his girlfriend, who asks if Glen's secret problem is another woman.

The film then cuts to the infamous shot of the Scientist shouting "Pull the string!" as bison stampede onscreen. It is not clear what this is meant to mean; perhaps that Glen should act as puppeteer, controlling his own life instead of letting others dictate it. Another transvestite friend of his, John, tells Glen how cross-dressing ended his marriage. A bizarre dream sequence, containing some BDSM pornography, follows. Glen then decides to tell Barbara the truth. She offers her angora sweater as a sign of acceptance.

Alan or Anne

The second part is much shorter, and was made to meet the distributor's demand for a sex change film. Alan is a pseudohermaphrodite who fights in the Second World War wearing women's underwear. After her return, Alan becomes the woman she always was through surgery.

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