George Jorgensen goes to 1950s Denmark and makes headlines for having the first sex-change operation.
Veteran Hollywood director Irving Rapper’s campy biopic released by United Artists, was adapted for the screen from a best-selling, late 60s autobiographical account.
It was Hollywood’s first attempt at exploring transgender issues – yet the dated and fictionalized film (although respectful) contained howlingly bad acting, dialogue, and writing. The poster proclaimed – “I couldn’t live in a man’s body!” and “Did the surgeon’s knife make me a woman or a freak?”
The overwrought and melodramatic film told about an effeminate, introverted young boy who enjoyed dolls and “sissy” things, George Jorgensen Jr. (John Hansen). After growing up and serving as a GI, he worked as an ad agency’s professional photographer, where he was nearly raped by his predatory gay boss Jess Warner (Rod McCary). After researching gender issues and sex disorders in a New York library, and speaking to sex researcher Professor Estabrook (Will Kuluva), George realized that he had a hormonal imbalance. He arranged for a radical, new surgical procedure with Dr. Victor Dahlman (Oscar Beregi) in a Denmark clinic (his homeland) in the early 1950s.
George became blonde beauty Christine Jorgensen, one of the earliest surgically-altered transsexuals (“The First Man to Become a Woman” the film falsely implied) with sex reassignment surgery.
In one post-surgical shot, there was a view of Christine’s hormonely-enhanced, developing breasts. A reporter named Tom Crawford that became Christine’s love interest was invented for the movie.