Prequel Documentary “That Summer” Is A Rare Look At The Beales Before “Grey Gardens”

Never-before-seen footage from the East Hampton home includes visits by Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, and Mick Jagger.

1975’s Grey Gardens introduced us to Little Edie Beale and her mother, Big Edie, two of the staunchest women of the 20th century. Next month, a prequel documentary takes us back to the Beales, three years before Albert Maysles’ camera made them stars.

That Summer sees the ladies’ glam cousin, Lee Radziwill, bringing workmen to help repair the East Hampton mansion and rescued them from certain eviction. (If you thought the house looked a fright in Grey Gardens, you ain’t seen nothing yet.)

That Summer/Peter Beard

Photographer Peter Beard chronicled her efforts, but when Radziwill realized Little Edie and her mom were stealing focus she reportedly shut down the project. Beard’s footage has been “lost” for decades, until Swedish director Göran Hugo Olsson (The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975) assembled and edited it into this fascinating docu-film.

That Summer/Story AB

That Summer also includes visits to the dilapidated dwelling by Mick Jagger, Paul Morrissey, Truman Capote and Andy Warhol, whose footage is incorporated into the film. “Everything was perfect in those days,” Beard says in the trailer. “Andy used to come, Bianca, Mick came and stayed there… It was always amazing. They were in a dreamworld.”

That Summer opens May 18.


Lamar Dawson is a pop culture junkie living in Manhattan.