Glen or Glenda? (1953) by Edward D. Wood

Sunday, May 3, 1987, 7:30 pm

Wood’s Glen or Glenda? / Pabst’s Secrets of a Soul


800 Chestnut Street

San Francisco, CA, 94133

“To say that Edward D. Wood’s first feature, Glen or Glenda? (1953) is bizarre is ludicrous understatement. But to confine it to the stuporous ghetto of the Midnight Movie is unjust. True, it was produced to exploit the Christine Jorgensen sex-change scandal, but Wood was himself a transvestite who as a marine wore bra and panties underneath his uniform during action in the Pacific. Glen or Glenda? is a tour-de-force of editing, incorporating under a strict logic at least 5 levels of narration, carefully stacked like the layers of a house of cards, only to be hurled into the air in one of the most astonishingly constructed dream sequences in film history. This intricate formal and psychological construction bears comparison with G.W. Pabst’s (Pandora’s Box) little-known 1926 silent Freudian fiction, Secrets of a Soul. While Pabst’s achievement relies on careful integration of Freudian theory within a logic of editing and formal optical tricks, Wood’s lies more purely in the aesthetic domain.” — Keith Sanborn