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Through the Lens: 'Grey Gardens'

Renee Bright

When the Maysels brothers showed up in 1972 to shoot a documentary film at the dilapidated estate of Grey Gardens in the East Hamptons, they didn't quite know what they were getting into, or what kind of movie they would end up with.

The rundown mansion was the home of Edith Beale and her grown daughter Edie. A horde of cats also lived there, as did a family of raccoons. It was a motley scene, and the filmmakers Albert and David Maysles immediately saw the potential for a unique documentary film. They wanted to present the Beale women, and their home, as authentically as possible. They filmed for hours and hours and hours, capturing the women’s foibles and regrets, their humor, and their loving and often contentious relationship. The resulting film, “Grey Gardens,” is a touchstone of American documentary art. It's also a warts-and-all portrait that some say crosses the line from voyeurism into exploitation. We’re screening it next week as part of our Through the Lens film series. We’ll talk about the making of the film and its enduring legacy this Friday at noon.


  • Jerry Torre, AKA the Marble Faun, who appeared in “Grey Gardens.” He's the author of The Marble Faun of Grey Gardens: A Memoir of the Beales, the Maysels Brothers, and Jacqueline Kennedy [Indiebound|Amazon]
  • Jon Vogels, author of The Direct Cinema of Alfred and David Maysles [Amazon]

Airdate: Friday, Dec. 2, 2022 at 12 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022 at 11 a.m.

Please join us for a free screening of “Grey Gardens” on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Library. RSVP here.

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