Though it was developed as an exploitation film meant to capitalize on popular interest in Christine Jorgensen’s transition, then a tabloid sensation, Ed Wood’s Glen or Glenda? is, for its time, an astonishingly sympathetic portrayal of cross-dressing and gender nonconformity. Nominally resembling an educational reel, the film relates the stories of Glen, who struggles to tell his fiancée that he covets her angora sweaters, and a GI who undergoes reassignment surgery, but Wood conveys this narrative in a style bizarre beyond measure. While the director’s more famous Plan 9 from Outer Space is regarded as the ne plus ultra of bad, low-budget moviemaking, Glen or Glenda?, with its inexplicable dream sequences, portentous narration, stock-footage hyperbole, and terrifically stiff acting, is no less bewildering in its composition.
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