Sunday, June 5, 2011

Glen or Glenda (1953): review: 10/10

Transvestitism and pseudo-hermaphroditism as seen in two cases. Dr Alton, psychiatrist, explains, Ed Wood acts. Bela Lugosi is a sort of insane alchemist, whose role is not entirely explained.

The case of Glen/Glenna takes up the major part of the film. Unkown to his fiancee, Glen delights in wearing woman's clothing- he worries about how his fiancee will react when he tells her.

As described, both conditions seem quite normal responses to the apparant joylessness of the male condition.  It is unclear how much of the humour is intentional  (a large part of it arises from the gleeful descriptions of men in women's underclothes) but as far as the film is comical, it is not so much at the expense of individuals portrayed- as the film is never mean-spirited- as the documentary genre itself, and that mental condition know as "political correctness".

This  film is magnificent- watch it for an antidote to the great wave of worthiness and joylessness that has swept across the film world. While the directorial techniques are often naive, even amateur, this happily adds to the charm of the piece.

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