Edith Bouvier Beale

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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

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