Ed Wood's first "major" film. IT IS TERRIBLE it's one of those movies that are so bad that they are good. It has a bizarre story, bad acting, and strange dialogue. The movie does not have the same outrageousness such as Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959) but still is hilarious.
The first part of the film begins with a narrator named 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 more 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 women.
The film then cuts to the (in)famous 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 proffers her angora sweater as a sign of acceptance.
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 his return, the Scientist (the only character to appear in both parts), turns Alan into "Anne", a woman, apparently through magical means.