Sunday, 10 January 2010

Grey Gardens

After a long and lovely christmas day with the family I settled down in the evening to watch Grey Gardens (2009) the adaptation of the 1976 Maysles brother documentary of the infamous two Edie Bouvier Beales. I had wanted to see this for ages and hadn't seen the original film, but had seen some galleries and read a few articles on the internets about them. When I watched it I was blown away.

Brief Synopsis: It is the story of a mother and daughter both raised as wealthy debutantes and are aunt and cousin to Jackie Onassis. Big Edie is a talented singer and married to Phelan Beale, she spends her days at their Hamptons estate Grey Gardens, Little Edie dreams of being a famous dancer and in her twenties is living in Manhattan, although she had many suitors and some very high profile proposals she falls in love with a married man. Big Edie and Phelan divorce and becoming increasingly paranoid about being left alone, Big Edie convinces Little Edie to return to Grey Gardens making her miss a big audition which she will forever be convinced would have seen her break into the big time. Living on a small allowance compared to what they are used to, Grey Gardens slowly falls into disrepair and with no staff the two gradually begin living in squalor with their many cats. In the early 70's the authorities are called in and with the threat of eviction Jackie Onassis and Lee Radziwill pay to have the house put back into a liveable state. Unfortunately the estate soon falls back into a sorry state and the two Edie's are once again alone, with Little Edie particularly feeling the strain of confinement looking after her demanding mother for the foreseeable future.

Whilst looking through the TV listings a couple of days later I noticed the original film was on a few days later, so I managed to catch that too. I'm actually quite glad that I saw the HBO film first as I found the documentary pretty hard to watch and follow. But comparing the two it showed that Drew & Jessica gave such amazing performances as Little and Big Edie respectively, particularly Drew she was fantastic at capturing Little Edie's quirky glamour and exuberant playful nature.

If you haven't seen either film, really try and catch them soon. You will fall in love with Little Edie, I felt so inspired by her style watching these, from the stunning 30's and 40's satin gowns to the chic 50's numbers, and of course the look she was more famous for later in the 70's taking items from the loft and creating the most fabulous and creative outfits, the numerous head scarves fashioned from jumpers, skirts and many more all finished with the famous brooch.

Below are some famous and fabulous quotes from Little Edie taken from Grey Gardens Online & IMDB

"This is the best thing to wear for today, you understand. Because I don't like women in skirts and the best thing is to wear pantyhose or some pants under a short skirt, I think. Then you have the pants under the skirt and then you can pull the stockings up over the pants underneath the skirt. And you can always take off the skirt and use it as a cape. So I think this is the best costume for today."

"My costumes? That's a protest against having worked as a model for the Establishment, believe it or not. A lot of models feel that way. Sometimes their lives are protests against having worked as models. Besides, I didn't have time taking care of mother to get out and buy any clothes. So I used what was left of mine and mother's in the attic."

"Course, I'm mad about animals, but raccoons and cats become a little bit boring. I mean, for too long a time."

"The family never cared for me and they hated my mother. She was a dancer and a singer with a terrific voice she'd inherited from her mother, and the relatives hated her because she was magnificent."

What is your favorite department store? "May's, although I haven't been there yet."

For more info check out the official site for the 1976 documentary here and the 2009 film here.
Do take a few minutes to look through this Life gallery too.

All Pics from Grey Gardens Online & HBO Official Site


Tangerine said...

I need to see this!

MrJeffery said...

i haven't seen the hbo version yet. but i do love drew & the original doc. such a strange story. little edie's style was incomparable.


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