Glen or Glenda  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Glen or Glenda (1953) is a movie, directed by and starring Ed Wood, Jr., and featuring Bela Lugosi, and Wood's then-girlfriend Dolores Fuller. The movie is a docudrama about transvestism and transsexuality, and is semi-autobiographical in nature. Wood himself was a transvestite, and the movie is a plea for tolerance. However, it has become a cult film due to its low-budget production values and idiosyncratic style. The soundtrack was by William Lava.

Legacy and references in popular culture

Due to its many flaws, Glen or Glenda? has become a touchstone for bad filmmaking.

In his film A King in New York (1957), Charlie Chaplin included scenes from a fictitious movie entitled Man or Woman? in a series of three theatrical trailers his character watches in a Manhattan cinema. Along with gender-bending roles, the director Chaplin was poking fun at the genres seen to be coming out of Hollywood at the time. While film history would soon distinguish Wood as clearly being outside the mainstream, Chaplin's film is one evidence that suggests opinion that Wood's topics might soon become a popular genre.

An intensely personal film for its director, Wood later returned to Glen or Glenda? in his pulp novel Killer in Drag (1963). The plot features a transvestite called Glen whose alter-ego is called Glenda. He is executed in the sequel Death of a Transvestite (1967) after a struggle for the right to go to the electric chair dressed as Glenda.

Several elements of Glen or Glenda, such as Lugosi's character and the inexplicable shot of the radiator, served as inspirations for scenes in David Lynch's Eraserhead.

After Wood was posthumously given the accolade of 'Worst Director of All Time' at the Golden Turkey Awards, a revival of interest in his work followed. This led to Glen or Glenda being reissued in 1982. This cut of the movie included six minutes of additional footage. One of the restored scenes features Glen rejecting a pass made to him by a gay man.

In 1994, Tim Burton chronicled the troubled production of Glen or Glenda? in Ed Wood. The film includes recreations of several key scenes; most notably Lugosi's ponderous narration and Glen's plea for his girlfriend's understanding at the end of the movie. A pornographic remake of the film, entitled Glen & Glenda, was released the same year as Ed Wood and featured much the same script as the original film, as well as explicit sex scenes.

In Seed of Chucky (2004), Chucky and his bride Tiffany decide to call their child "Glen or Glenda" as it lacks genitalia.

Glenda, the Plan 9 Bunny, the mascot of the distributed operating system Plan 9 from Bell Labs, is named after Glen or Glenda?. Plan 9 from Bell Labs is a reference to Plan 9 from Outer Space, another film by Ed Wood.

In Marvel Comics's Runaways Chase says to the team after Xavin calls them children "Did 'Glen or Glenda' just call us children?". A nod to Xavin's often shapeshifting from a boy to a girl.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Glen or Glenda" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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