The elusive ‘Grey Gardens’
October 17, 2007
My friend Jack recommended a movie called “Grey Gardens,” a documentary about the elderly Edie (“Big Edie”) Beale and her 56-year-old daughter, “Little Edie,” respectively aunt and first cousin of Jackie O, who lived in virtual squalor in a mansion in East Hampton, N.Y.
That sounded right up my alley, so I called Take Two Video only to find that they didn’t have it, called Alp Video but they didn’t have it either, went online to the library and they had it but it was out, due back in July, so apparently lost, stolen or strayed.
Jack ordered a copy from Netflix and, by this time, we were all atwitter to see it, but when I popped the disc into the machine there was no sound. “It doesn’t work,” I announced, the announcement being received with undisguised eye-rollings and sighs until, after a significant amount of diddling followed by putting in another disc which worked fine, Jack conceded that the disc was flawed.
So back the disc went to Netflix with an urgent request to send a working copy, and we were really champing when it arrived only to find NO SOUND AGAIN.
Fap! What was wrong? I wrote “NO SOUND” on the inner and outer envelopes and sent it back.
When the third copy arrived with still no sound I, gnashing my teeth, went to Amazon and ordered the two-volume set (“Grey Gardens” and “The Beales of Grey Gardens,” a sequel). I had just pressed “Buy with 1 click,” when Jack’s friend Carol said we should try the third Netflix disc on my computer and lo, on my computer there was sound.
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It was grainy and cramped to watch on the computer so we waited for the Amazon order and, as you may have anticipated, that had no sound either.
OK, this was war. Off to the Miner’s Building for a new VCR machine ” I’d been meaning to get another for my bedroom anyway ” Jack set it up (I would have been hard put to get it out of the box), put in the disc and it worked!
So I guess my old VCR was missing some nuance of technology that allowed it to play every other CD on the planet except “Grey Gardens,” and if you know why this happened please call me at the Times or e-mail email@example.com.
The movies, when we finally saw them, were definitely worth waiting for. Two very eccentric ladies rattling around in that huge house with a lot of cats and raccoons (which Little Edie fed), singing and yelling at each other, eating ice cream and cat food (Big Edie’s caviar) and reminiscing about the glory days.
I highly recommend the movies, even if you have to buy a new VCR.
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