Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Grey Gardens


Did anyone else see Grey Gardens on HBO over the weekend? If not, you really should try to see it. Drew Barrymore portrays "Little Edie" Beale (Jackie O's cousin) - and Jessica Lange plays "Big Edie", Jackie O's aunt and Little Edie's mother.

However, you really should see the original documentary first. The original Grey Gardens was released in 1975 and showed the Beales living in their ramshackle East Hampton mansion - Grey Gardens. The house was falling apart and disgusting - filled with garbage, cats (and cat urine and feces), and even raccoons. The documentary is heartbreaking, bizarre, life-affirming and mesmerizing ... all at the same time.


The HBO version is just as entertaining and mesmerizing - and it contains some background information which shows how these women got into the situation they ended up in. Jessica Lange gives an AMAZING performance as the elder Beale who relies on her daughter for everything.


One of the things the ladies do (in the documentary and in the HBO movie) is sing and dance. In fact, Little Edie mentions she is putting together a cabaret act. Sure enough, after her mother died, "Little" Edith Bouvier Beale - then 60 years old - performed at a Greenwich Village Club called Reno Sweeney. She did 8 shows over New Year's week in 1978 - and received horrible reviews.


After her nightclub debut, Little Edie sold Grey Gardens and moved to Florida - where she died in 2002.

The current owners of Grey Gardens - journalist Sally Quinn and former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee - completely restored the mansion to its former glory. However, it is said that during long periods of rain, when the wood-framed home gets very wet, the smell of cat urine returns and they must vacate until things dry out.

12 comments:

Beth said...

oh good lord....cat pee REEKS and is imposible to get rid of! My one cat, Simon, used to pee in Baby Daddy's shoes all the time! ahhh, good times, good times.

and what the heck is going on with Drew's FACE??! did she have all kinds of implants or WHAT???! DAMN!

thegayte-keeper said...

I LOVED this movie...after watching it I had to search for information about these ladies and it was interesting...Drew Barrymore & Jessica Lange did a superb job...this movie is SO Oscar material...

Tom A. said...

Haven't seen it yet, but hope to see it soon. Litte Edie died in 2001 or so. The DVD of the original documentary has a phone call (after the credits roll) between her and the filmmaker, and they discussed Bush's stealing of the 2000 election. It was odd to think of her living in current times!

A theater group in DC just did a drag re-creation of her performance at the Reno Sweeeny but alas, I missed it.

Beth said...

I recall hearing about these women. What a bizarre story.

kayce. said...

i saw it, too ~ and it's free on OnDemand now, so i've watched it twice more, LOL ~ but never even knew about the original til the hype for this one. i will def have to see if i can find it somewhere. :))

Marker said...

Sally Quinn - gag

Mark in DE said...

Sounds very interesting. I'm going to look for both versions on Netflix, thanks to your recommendation.

Sam said...

So DD I'll be big edie, and you can be lil edie.

Wonder Man said...

loved it

MYGREYGARDENS said...

I was told right after filming of the HBO film wrapped up in the fall of 2007, that I would be blown away at the last scene, where Edie sings Tea For Two at Reno Sweeny, and I was ! I had supplied the film company with the only recording in existence of Edie singing the tune, only this wasn't from her actual performance at the club, but rather her singing it just for me at one of my many visits to Grey Gardens. Drew sang it exactly, phrase for phrase as I have it on tape. Edie and I actually met that night at Reno Sweeny, and my relationship with Grey Gardens has now spanned over 3 decades. For our complete review, check out our blog at MyGreyGardens.com (HBO film review by Robb Brawn & Lee Arboreen), and be sure to check our Youtube video uploaded 4/18/09 the same day as the HBO film release. Click
GREY GARDENS PROMO to view the video

Jennie said...

I wish, wish, wish I had been able to get the original documentary while I was recuperating. I've got it on my netflix, but there's a damn wait.

Monsieur Lloyd said...

If these two ladies DONT get Golden Globes and Emmys for their portrayal of these iconic characters Im boycotting! LOL! Its a shame it didnt get a motion picture release because this is definitely Oscar worthy.

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