From the New York Times, by Nathan Lee, on 11 August 2006
'The Beales of Grey Gardens' Profiles Eccentrics in East Hampton
East Hampton, the mid-1970s: The documentary filmmakers Albert and David Maysles set up camp in a decrepit mansion known as Grey Gardens. There, amid piles of trash and mounds of cats, reside the eccentric Edith Bouvier Beale, a first cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and her mother, slightly less eccentric and also named Edith. Half mad and completely compelling, Little Edie and Big Edie flood the Maysles brothers' camera with their oddball antics and batty conversation. "Grey Gardens," a cinéma vérité portrait, is culled from the material, released in theaters and becomes an instant cult classic.
Flash forward to the present day, and the Beales are no longer with us, but their legend enjoys a thriving afterlife. A successful “Grey Gardens” musical is jumping to Broadway. A movie based on the Beales starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange is in the works. And now Albert, the surviving Maysles brother, is contributing to (or perhaps capitalizing on) this resurgence with "The Beales of Grey Gardens," a new assemblage of outtakes from their archive.
Catnip for the Beale cult, the film supplements but nowhere surpasses the funky charm and moldy glamour of the original. Of special interest to drag queens and fashion designers is a montage of Little Edie's crazy outfits. The one irreplaceable scene has her feeding slices of bread to a raccoon that frequents a fire-damaged nook of the second-floor landing. Otherwise, this ramshackle miscellanea — Edie on the beach, Edie in bed, Edie free-associating about the Republican Party — properly belongs on the "Grey Gardens" DVD.