A director is forced to work with his ex-wife, who left him for the boss of the studio bankrolling his new film. But the night before the first day of shooting, he develops a case of psychosomatic blindness.
According to film critic Leonard Maltin, Francis Coppola's segment "Life Without Zoë" was a "variation on the old children's book Eloise". According to Wikipedia, "Eloise is a series of children's books written in the 1950s by Kay Thompson (1909-1998) and illustrated by Hilary Knight (b. 1926). Thompson and Knight followed up Eloise (1955) with four sequels. Eloise is a six-year-old girl who lives in the "room on the tippy-top floor" of the Plaza Hotel in New York City with her Nanny, her pug dog Weenie, and her turtle Skipperdee. Thompson's goddaughter, Liza Minnelli, has been cited as a possible model for Eloise, as has the author herself". See more »
[When Paulette sees Lionel appearing unexpectedly in Paulette's bedroom]
I just wanted to kiss your foot. Sorry, nothing personal.
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Coppola's segment introduces cast and crew members only by their first name during the opening titles. See more »
In New York Stories, three segments are shown back to back, and they are all engaging in their own ways however it's only 2/3 successful as a total motion picture. Martin Scorsese's Life Lessons is a good example of what caliber of work Scorsese had when he made those three student films in the 1960's. It is a film that has a lot of depth, but it is quite worth it for fans of the actors and those who could get interested in Richard Price's story.
Coppola, director of THE GODFATHER and APOCALYPSE NOW makes Life Without Zoe here, a film that is 180 degrees out of whack from those two movies in that it tells the story of a little rich girl whose best friend is a doorman and revolves around a rich boy's birthday party. In a way, it almost could appeal to kids, but it's the wrong place to put in between a story of artists by Scorsese and a comedy of mother and son troubles by Allen.
Which brings me to the last short film, Oedipus Wrecks, where Woody plays a character whose mother suddenly out of the blue disappears. This is a good showing of what Woody can do in comedy without having to have a picture length presentation (not that he makes many bad films by the way).
So, New York Stories is worth checking out for Life Lessons and Oedipus Wrecks, and there could be an audience somewhere for Life Without Zoe, although the biggest flaw of the movie comes that neither one can connect at all outside of the fact that they all take place in New York and are made by New York directors- in short- fascinating and imperfect in some ways. B+
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