Monday, February 19, 2007

Grey Gardens

Grey Gardens - The Beales of Grey Gardens:

Aw forget it! I thought about writing a "review" of this and then remembered - I'm not a strong a reviewer. You guys can do that and what seems to me - with ease. I just can't throw all those words around and make it sound like it came out of some newspaper column or something.

By the way, when I post about a CD, DVD or anything like that, it's not really a "review" rather than just me saying "I got something and I like it." Or maybe write a few words about how I feel about the whole thing.

So here's how I feel about this DVD. It started out with a friend at work who started talking about it and I had no interest whatsoever in it. Until she lent me the Grey Gardens DVD and I was hooked. I have to credit my friend who pushed this on me somehow knowing that what's going on with Little Edith Beale is something I can relate to.

It's about a bird trapped in a cage. She longs to break out of the cage and hit the city of New York to finally make a career for herself. She likes to dance and sing. So does her mother big Edith Beale. Which is why they ended up living the way they did. A 28 room mansion in the Hamptons which is falling apart. Garbage everywhere, raccoons getting in the house, cats all over the place (imagine the smell). These two were part of the richest family in the world. The cousin and aunt of the late Jackie Onassis. They were once ordered to leave the house or fix it up. Ms. Onassis came to the rescue that one time but since then the house has deteriorated.

I feel so much for little Edith Beale when all she can think of is to leave that house and get to the city. "Any rats nest will do." Exactly how I felt all those years living in Arizona. When for some reason, I couldn't leave because of my father. Edith can't leave because of her mother who must be looked after.

Edith still dreams of becoming the dancer she always wanted to be. She often talks of never getting a chance. Missing out on everything. All on the account of her having to take care of her mom for 30 years. But I fell in love with her. Little Edith. The fashion icon. You've gotta see the makeshift outfits she puts together for herself. It's like a fashion show. And in later years, fashion designers have used little Edith's look on their runways!! As little Edith sometimes calls them "revolutionary." Her head is always covered. It's either a scarf, a towel, a sweater or something and all holding it together is this one broach which makes the entire outfit. She's got nowhere to go. They are both recluses but she takes the time to put outfits together and parades around in them just doing whatever.

Then there are the old pictures that they pass around to show to the film crew (Maysles brothers). These two were quite lookers in their young age. Breathtakingly beautiful pictures of both Ediths. Including in the room is a beautiful painted portrait of big Edith. At one time one of the cats gets behind it and does it's business. Memorable quote from big Edith: "No, I'm glad. I'm glad somebody's doing something what they want to do!"

Towards the end of the movie you see a bird taking off away from the roof of Grey Gardens. But inside you see little Edith Beale dancing around in this little room. All trapped, all wishing to spread her wings and fly away to get her life started. And she's only 56 years old.

In this DVD you are taken inside the lives of people who once had everything that they wanted. Money and all. Then all of it was stripped away and they were left to live in a home that would fall apart round them. And them along with it. You get to see a mother daughter relationship like no other.

I went out and bought the boxed set of this DVD. There's been quite an interest in the story. Now it being on Broadway and a movie about to be made starring Drew Barrymore. But this documentary was out in 1976! So it's had some kind of cult following. And usually I know about these things. Somehow, this one has passed me by until now. The boxed set included another DVD full of footage that was not seen in the first one. So much footage that it's a movie entirely on it's own. Here you can see so much more iconic fashion from little Edith. More singing and dancing and little Edith's philosophies.

Memorable quote from little Edith Beale: "You know what stays the same? Nature! The sun and the moon and everything else go on. In spite of man. He crumbles."

I do love her. After he mother died, little Edith Beale stayed at the mansion for another 4 to 5 years and then sold it. She moved to Bell Harbor in Florida and finally lived the remaining years of her life in luxury. She was given the chance to do some cabaret. But it never took off. But now, she's a star. She died in 2002.

I'm buying a Ouija board to contact her.

I know this was badly written.

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