Tuesday, September 18, 2007

In 1972, a pair of documentary film makers recorded hours and hours of footage with the Beales in the Hamptons. Big Edie and Little Edie Beale were the aunt and cousin of Jackie Bouvier Kennedy. Big Edie was controlling and narcissistic and insisted her socialite daughter give up her fashionable life (along with prospects for marriage) to take care of their crumbling Hamptons mansion, Gray Gardens. I LOVE this film. I heard several years ago they were making a musical of the film, and I utterly disapproved. Despite my love for opera and its preposterous settings, I find most contemporary musicals to be very nails-on-chalkboard. However, I think they've done a masterful job with some fantastic songwriting.

Here are clips from the original which gives you an idea of the demented energy of these strange, isolated souls. I love the stuffing out of Little Edie, by the way. She's actually rather sweet, just incredibly odd. I can respect that.

Below is Christine Ebersole in the role of Edie at this year's Tony awards. She's fabulous.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Hey! How did Edie get into my closet anyway?

HollyB said...

You just whetted my appetite. I must have MORE!

Christina RN LMT said...


Was Little Edie bald?

Notice in the very last shot how she's mugging for the camera, and the ginger cat to the left, cleaning its bottom...classic!

phlegmfatale said...

barbara - you dress divinely, darling!

holly - it's good shit, innit?

christina - Yeah, she was. They talk about that in the documentary, about her losing her hair, poor thing. Yeah, they were overrun with cats, and she'd take a bunch of sacks of bread and cat food into the attic to make sure the raccoons had enough to eat. It's completely crazy, yet there's a method to their madness. I found it fascinating. Anyway, I think they really captured the essence of the documentary with the songs. And I love that the songwriter seeks to present them as having orderly minds, rather just being prone to random flights of fancy. They weren't crazy, just eccentric.