(Dir. David and Albert Maysles) (1976)
Lifestyles of the squalid and shameless…Edith and Edie Beale live in their ramshackle mansion in the Hamptons, cats lolling about, voiding, and racoons climbing through great holes in the roof. Daughter Edie swans about, recalling an interrupted career on Broadway; mother Edith (aunt to Jackie Onassis) sits in bed, watching, like a big spider. Two years of footage has been distilled into doco-length, where not much occurs beyond regular ranting, but try to look away. This eye-view seems like exploitation to us, but, nevertheless, of definite morbid interest. For this reason, it has since been filmed for television, and expanded into a stage musical (for The Varnished Culture the lowest art-form next to novelizing a screenplay), most recently staged at Seymour Theatre, Sydney, with Beth Daly playing a one-hander in two acts as Big and Lil’ Edie.