David Maysles

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Grey Gardens (1976) Review


Very Good
The title refers to the 28-room East Hampton mansion occupied by Mrs. Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter Edie Beale (known familiarly as Big and Little Edie), aunt and first cousin to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The year is 1975, and the mansion, like its occupants, has seen better days: a substantial portion of the roof is gone, raccoons inhabit the upper floor, feral cats inhabit all the floors, the eponymous gardens have long since gone to seed, and Big and Little Edie have retreated into a few rooms, consigning the remainder of the house to whatever fate awaits it. Eviction papers were recently served, but the crisis was averted when Jackie O. wrote a check that expedited the cleaning of Grey Gardens -- enough to satisfy the authorities, if not, one suspects, the rich neighbors. Big and Little Edie, impoverished and more than a little unhinged, no longer venture outside the walls of the estate; within them, time moves forward at a different pace. If it moves at all.

Into this closed society, the brothers Maysles, best known for their Rolling Stones documentary Gimme Shelter, brought their cameras, and the result is 94 minutes of the strangest documentary footage you're ever likely to see. Since its release some time between 1975 and 1977 -- different sources, fittingly, give different dates -- Grey Gardens has acquired a cult reputation that only a few minutes' viewing serves to justify. The Criterion DVD release puts a real film oddity -- and a notoriously obscure one -- back within easy reach.

Continue reading: Grey Gardens (1976) Review

Grey Gardens Review


Very Good
The title refers to the 28-room East Hampton mansion occupied by Mrs. Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter Edie Beale (known familiarly as Big and Little Edie), aunt and first cousin to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The year is 1975, and the mansion, like its occupants, has seen better days: a substantial portion of the roof is gone, raccoons inhabit the upper floor, feral cats inhabit all the floors, the eponymous gardens have long since gone to seed, and Big and Little Edie have retreated into a few rooms, consigning the remainder of the house to whatever fate awaits it. Eviction papers were recently served, but the crisis was averted when Jackie O. wrote a check that expedited the cleaning of Grey Gardens -- enough to satisfy the authorities, if not, one suspects, the rich neighbors. Big and Little Edie, impoverished and more than a little unhinged, no longer venture outside the walls of the estate; within them, time moves forward at a different pace. If it moves at all.

Into this closed society, the brothers Maysles, best known for their Rolling Stones documentary Gimme Shelter, brought their cameras, and the result is 94 minutes of the strangest documentary footage you're ever likely to see. Since its release some time between 1975 and 1977 -- different sources, fittingly, give different dates -- Grey Gardens has acquired a cult reputation that only a few minutes' viewing serves to justify. The Criterion DVD release puts a real film oddity -- and a notoriously obscure one -- back within easy reach.

Continue reading: Grey Gardens Review

Grey Gardens Review


Very Good
The title refers to the 28-room East Hampton mansion occupied by Mrs. Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter Edie Beale (known familiarly as Big and Little Edie), aunt and first cousin to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The year is 1975, and the mansion, like its occupants, has seen better days: a substantial portion of the roof is gone, raccoons inhabit the upper floor, feral cats inhabit all the floors, the eponymous gardens have long since gone to seed, and Big and Little Edie have retreated into a few rooms, consigning the remainder of the house to whatever fate awaits it. Eviction papers were recently served, but the crisis was averted when Jackie O. wrote a check that expedited the cleaning of Grey Gardens - enough to satisfy the authorities, if not, one suspects, the rich neighbors. Big and Little Edie, impoverished and more than a little unhinged, no longer venture outside the walls of the estate; within them, time moves forward at a different pace. If it moves at all.

Into this closed society, the brothers Maysles, best known for their Rolling Stones documentary Gimme Shelter, brought their cameras, and the result is 94 minutes of the strangest documentary footage you're ever likely to see. Since its release some time between 1975 and 1977 - different sources, fittingly, give different dates - Grey Gardens has acquired a cult reputation that only a few minutes' viewing serves to justify. The Criterion DVD release puts a real film oddity - and a notoriously obscure one - back within easy reach.

Continue reading: Grey Gardens Review

Gimme Shelter Review


Excellent
Prancing about onstage like some giggling, underdeveloped girl, Mick Jagger can barely control his audience with an ineffectual plea: "Brothers, sisters - we don't want this. We all want to have a good time. So let's settle down now or...or...or we just won't play anymore." While the Rolling Stones preen onstage and Jagger fiddles with his endless mane of bangs, the leather biker boys who comprise the Hell's Angels control the 300,000 hippies in the audience clamoring for attention and Jagger's skinny bod.

This concert footage is intercut with scenes of the Rolling Stones' lawyer, bespectacled fussbudget Melvin Belli, as he organizes their free concert in California. The locals seem wary of bringing the Rolling Stones to town, along with all those crazy fans: Someone's sure to get hurt. We also catch glimpses of the obviously whacked out Stones on a press junket, oblivious to the manic fans who fervently gather around them.

Continue reading: Gimme Shelter Review

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