Have you seen Grey Gardens? I just saw it and I am absolutely smitten with the two batty ladies, mother and daughter of the same name Edith Bouvier Beale aka Big Edie and Little Edie.
This fascinating documentary was shot in 1975 by Albert and David Maysles in East Hamptons when they got to spend time with the Edies at the height of their eccentricity.
Grey Gardens is the name of their run down estate, they were under threat of being evicted due to the bad state of the property, they lived with lots of cats, raccoons and fleas. The house was a damp, big Eddie had a cooker on her bed, animals went to the toilet behind Edie’s portrait, the fridge was in the bedroom and they mainly ate ice cream. They were only saved by Jackie Kennedy who was Big Edie’s niece and Little Edie’s cousin, she helped to get the house sorted and kept the ladies till Big Edie’s death.
Little Edie had some sort of acting career in New York but went to take care of her old mother and 10 years later she found herself still taking care of her. Little Edie always wanted to go back to the city and acting but her mother wouldn’t let her which led to both ladies arguing a lot, Little Edie always complaining about not being married and reminding herself of all her suitors, very often getting upset. Big Edie, who was a singer, got very upset when her daughter tried to sing badly. And that’s how they lived till the death of the mother.
But they weren’t always that way. Both were real beauties and very often in the film you see them looking at pictures and remembering the past.
One thing that strikes the most is the wonderful yet eccentric sense of style, especially of Little Edie who despite being in her mid 50s is not afraid of showing off her legs. She is always wearing a scarf and usually dresses in tight tops and hot pants or some kind of home made skirt. She also has a wonderful brooch that is mostly pinned to her scarf.
Big Edie is usually seen in her bed but she appears once in a stunning colorful kaftan dress. Her hair is long and silver.
If you fancy getting acquainted with the ladies Channel4 is airing the documentary on Tuesday at 22.00.