Zee and Co.

Zee and Co (also known as X Y and Zee and Zee and Company) is a 1972 British drama film directed by Brian G. Hutton and starring Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Caine, and Susannah York. Released by Columbia Pictures, it was based upon a novel by Edna O'Brien.[1] The screenplay concerns a middle-aged, bickering couple whose marriage is on its last legs, and the woman who comes between them.

Zee and Co.
Theatrical release poster bearing an alternate title: X, Y & Zee
Directed byBrian G. Hutton
Produced byElliot Kastner
Jay Kanter
Alan Ladd, Jr.
Written byEdna O'Brien
StarringElizabeth Taylor
Michael Caine
Susannah York
Music byStanley Myers
Release date
January 21, 1972
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

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".

Plot summary

Zee Blakely (Elizabeth Taylor) is a loud, coarse, 40-something socialite, whose marriage to her architect 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 and then dares him to partake in a love triangle with Stella.


Critical reception

Critical opinions of the film were varied. Roger Ebert wrote that while the movie is "no masterpiece" it still satisfies audiences as it "unzips along at a nice, vulgar clip".[2] 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.[2] Steven Scheue praised the film for its "intelligent dialogue" and as a "change of pace" for its director.[3] 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 wrote 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 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 offered a very brief review of the film, writing that it was a "pointless tale of sexual relationships", (Martin and Porter, 1996: p. 1213).


A remastered Region 1 DVD-R[4] was released by Sony Pictures on 17 December 2010.


  • Hirschhorn, Clive (1990). The Columbia story (1 ed.). New York: Crown. ISBN 978-0517575581.
  • Maltin, Leonard, ed. (1991). Leonard Maltin's movie and video guide (1992 ed.). New York, N.Y.: Signet. ISBN 978-0452266919.
  • Martin, Mick; Porter, Marsha (1996). Bang, Derrick (ed.). Video movie guide, 1997. New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0345406439.
  • McWilliams, Michael (1987). TV sirens : a tantalizing look at prime time's fabulous females. New York, NY: Putnam. ISBN 978-0399512926.


  1. Variety film review; 26 January 1972, page 16.
  2. Ebert, Roger (8 March 1972). "X, Y and Zee". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  3. Scheuer, Steven (1990). Movies on TV and Videocassette. Bamtam Books, New York. p. 1211.
  4. Remastered Region 1 DVD released, sonypictures.com; accessed 26 August 2014.
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