My favorite lines from Grey Gardens, HBO's new film adaptation of the lives of Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter Little Edie, subjects immortalized in the 1975 Maysles documentary:

"Let's breed cats, Edie? Wouldn't that be fun?" -- Big Edie, played by Jessica Lange

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"Of course I'm mad about animals, but raccoons and cats become a little bit boring, I mean, for too long a time." -- Little Edie, played by Drew Barrymore

These socially prominent women slip into eccentricity, and Grey Gardens, the once-glorious mansion in East Hampton, becomes overrun by their new roommates, cats and raccoons. (Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and her sister, Lee Radziwill, relatives of the Beales, had to step in to finance repairs.)

Ben Bradlee, former Washington Post executive editor, and his wife, Sally Quinn, author and journalist, bought the estate in 1979 from Little Edie. In W, Quinn describes her first reaction to it: "Well, you had to have flea collars on for one thing. There were 30 cats in there and the stench was beyond belief." (To read the interview, click here.)

Animal lovers will want to stay tuned for the final credits to see the "raccoon trainer" get his due.

Grey Gardens is on HBO tonight at 8. (Check out David Zurawik's review here.)

Photo courtesy of HBO/Peter Stranks: Jessica Lange, director and co-writer Michael Sucsy and Drew Barrymore

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