Zee and Co.
|Zee and Co.|
Theatrical release poster bearing an alternate title: X, Y & Zee
|Directed by||Brian G. Hutton|
|Produced by||Elliot Kastner
Alan Ladd Jr
|Written by||Edna O'Brien|
|Release dates||21 January 1972|
|Running time||110 minutes|
The film starred Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Caine as a middle-aged, bickering couple whose marriage is on its last legs, and Susannah York as the woman who comes between them. Margaret Leighton was also featured in a supporting role as a dizzy socialite.
The theme song, Going in Circles, was covered by Three Dog Night on their album Seven Separate Fools (1972), as well as being the b-side to the single The Family of Man from the previous album, Harmony (1971).
Zee Blakely (Elizabeth Taylor) is a loud, coarse, forty-something socialite, whose marriage to her husband Robert (Michael Caine) is on the rocks, as witnessed by their frequent verbal sparring matches. Sick of Zee's antics, Robert is drawn to quiet boutique owner Stella (Susannah York) who is the complete antithesis to Zee in terms of personality.
Feeling bored and rejected, Zee attempts a number of methods to regain Robert's sympathy, such as attempting suicide, but these do not work. Zee discovers that Stella had a lesbian affair in the past, and uses this against both her, and Robert, to dare him to partake in a love triangle with Stella.
Critical opinions of the film were varied. Roger Ebert said that while the movie is "no masterpiece" it still satisfies audiences as it "unzips along at a nice, vulgar clip". He said that Elizabeth Taylor is the film's main attraction, but the emphasis upon her detracts somewhat from a fuller representation of the love triangle in the film. Steven Scheuer praised the film for its "intelligent dialogue" and as a "change of pace" for its director. Michael McWilliams cited Taylor's work as "her greatest movie performance" and called the film "outrageously funny" (McWilliams, 1987: 32).
Other critics were less sympathetic. Leonard Maltin said the film was "contrived [and] often perverse," with the Elizabeth Taylor/Susannah York love scene ranking "high in the annals of poor taste," (Maltin, 1990: 1386). Clive Hirschhorn felt that the film was sabotaged by the director's "indulgent" take on it, thereby skewing Edna O'Brien's screenplay to its detriment (Hirshhorn, 1989: 298). Mick Martin and Marsha Porter offered a very brief review of the film being that it was a "pointless tale of sexual relationships," (Martin and Porter, 1996: 1213).
- Elizabeth Taylor - Zee Blakeley
- Michael Caine - Robert Blakeley
- Susannah York - Stella
- Margaret Leighton - Gladys
- John Standing - Gordon
- Mary Larkin - Rita
- Michael Cashman - Gavin
- Gino Melvazzi - Head Waiter
A remastered Region 1 DVD-R has been released by Sony Pictures on 12/17/2010.
- Hirschhorn, Clive (1989) The Columbia Story, Pyramid Books, London.
- Maltin, Leonard (1991) Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide 1992, Signet, New York.
- Martin, Mick and Porter, Marsha (1996) Video Movie Guide 1997, Ballantine Books, New York.
- McWilliams, Michael (1987) TV Sirens: A Tantalizing Look at Prime Time's Fabulous Females, Perigee Books, New York.
- Variety film review; 26 January 1972, page 16.
- Ebert, Roger (8 March 1972). "X, Y and Zee". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2008-01-15.
- Scheuer, Steven (1990). Movies on TV and Videocassette. Bamtam Books, New York. p. 1211.