“An Absolute Ball”
X, Y and ZEE 1972
Elizabeth Taylor wears the role of Zee Blakeley, a Machiavellian temptress, who is married to the wealthy yet miserly, miserable, and misogynistic architect Robert, played deftly by Michael Caine who partakes every bit in the nasty psycho-sexual game playing their afflicted marriage has manifested over the years.
Zee is wild, possessive, and cunning, and Robert is melancholy, brutish, and at times downright violent. Longing for a change he pursues the lovely Stella played by Susannah York, who he meets at a party given by a friend, the bird-like, arty, jet-setting, gold Lamé, pink fluffy-haired Gladys (Margaret Leighton) who collects people and things for her ‘cocktail parties’ strewn with beautiful types, fags, artists and anyone with a title attached to their name.
Life and love are cutthroat in this film, and Taylor’s portrayal of Zee is unnerving and difficult to watch at times, as she fluctuates between venomous seductress and wounded little girl. York as always is like a fawn from the eldritch woods with those dreamy eyes. But talk about eyes, no one has a pair that arrests you quite like Elizabeth Taylor.
Once Robert decides to play house with Stella and leave Zee to wallow in her jealous vitriol, Zee goes on an orchestrated rampage to try and destroy their burgeoning romance, uncovering the shell of sweet Stella exposing that she has some secrets of her own. Written by Edna O’Brien, and directed by Brian G. Hutton who also directed Taylor in the thriller, Night Watch 1973, another equally disturbing film about the deep-rooted ugliness and danger of an ill-fated marriage.
With fabulous Costume designs by Beatrice Dawson.
SUCH GOOD FRIENDS 1971
“The little black book that became a national bestseller.”
Based on the novel by Lois Gould, with a screenplay by Elaine May using her pen name Esther Dale, and an uncredited Joan Didion (A Star is Born 1976, Panic In Needle Park 1971) Directed by the omnipotent Otto Preminger.
Dyan Cannon is Julie Messinger a New York housewife who finds out that her husband magazine editor Richard (Laurence Luckinbill Boys In the Band 1970) has been cheating on her because he ‘doesn’t like her feet.’ She stumbles onto his little black book with the names of several ‘women.’
Nina Foch, plays Julie’s mother an annihilating, narcissistic harpy who criticizes her about everything.
When Richard winds up in a coma from complications stemming from a simple mole removal, Julie’s good friends gather around her for support. Including an impromptu cocktail gathering in the blood donor ward of the hospital…
It’s a biting, black comedic sexual romp through the self-explorative 70s, with a fabulous cast of characters.
Co-starring the wonderful James Coco as Dr. Timothy Spector, Jennifer O’Neill, as Miranda, Ken Howard as photographer Cal Whiting, Louise Lasser, Burgess Meredith, Sam Levene, William Redfield, James Beard, Rita Gam, Lawrence Tierney, and Doris Roberts. And an uncredited Salome Jens as a Blood Donor at the hospital and Joseph Papp and his Shakespeare Theatre.
Nurse-“Have you ever had venereal disease?”
Blood Donor-“No I was never even in the tropics!”
It’s been a ball-MG