“Grey Gardens” on Kanopy

Little Edie outside of the Grey Gardens masion
Little Edie outside of the Grey Gardens

Award-winning actress, Jessica Lange said, “For me, nothing has ever taken precedence over being a mother and having a family and a home.”  Apart from her real-life role as a mother of three, Lange has played many iconic mother roles from Mary Tyrone in Long Days Journey Into Night to Carly Marshall in the Academy Award winning Blue Sky.  Though arguably none of Lange's mother roles were as unique and original as Big Edie Beale in the 2009 HBO film Grey Gardens.  Based on the cult classic documentary of the same name, Lange was praised for her performance as the hermit matriarch of the Beale family.  Both versions of Grey Gardens, the documentary and the television film, are must-sees, and are available through the DiMenna-Nyselius Library.

Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange in the "Grey Gardens" television movie

Aunt of the great Jackie Onassis-Kennedy, Big Edie and her daughter Little Edie were “high-society drop-outs” who ditched their upscale, aristocratic life to live in the their Long Island summer home/estate Grey Gardens. The beautiful stately Grey Gardens, under the Beale women’s care fell into a state of disarray and disrepair (including trash-filled rooms, virtually no pluming, and flea and raccoon infestations) that brought much attention to Big and Little Edie.  The two women are now iconic not just for their dramatic life-change from upper-class socialites to recluses but are remember for their unique fashion and philosophies that have made the two classic cult characters.  In 1976, Albert and David Maysles wrote a unique documentary titled Grey Gardens which highlights the lives of Big and Little Edie.  Listed on Sight and Sound’s Top 10 Documentary Films of All-Time, Grey Gardens has inspired many spin-off works including a 2006 Broadway musical which starred Christine Ebersole and Mary Louise Wilson and a 2009 television film starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange.

The iconic documentary, Grey Gardens, is available through the library’s video streaming services.  The Lange/Barrymore television film is also available through the library’s DVD collection.  Both films are a must for all history, fashion, and documentary film fans.

Be sure to check out  Grey Gardens, and more streaming films like it by accessing the Library’s streaming videos at: http://librarybestbets.fairfield.edu/imagevideoresearch/video.  Also, be sure to come into the library and explore our DVD collection.