New York Stories (1989)

PG | 120 mins | Anthology, Comedy, Drama | 1 March 1989

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HISTORY

The 21 Sep 1987 People magazine announced that Francis Coppola, Woody Allen, and Martin Scorsese would each direct a segment for the anthology, New York Stories.
       According to the 28 Mar 1988 DV, the idea began with Woody Allen and his longtime producer, Robert Greenhut. In discussions with Greenhut over the years, Allen mentioned that he had lots of “juicy ideas” that were best suited to shorter film lengths, and wondered if other directors had the same problem. Initially, the plan included the involvement of international directors, but Greenhut and Allen soon decided to make it an American project. The three stories would have no connection to each other, other than being set in New York City. Greenhut promised “total control” to Coppola and Scorsese, and both agreed to participate. Greenhut produced the overall project, but Coppola and Scorsese hired separate producers for their individual segments. In the 3 Oct 1988 DV, Greenhut noted that it took a year to clear the schedules for the three directors before filming could begin.
       The segments were filmed separately, with Woody Allen’s film set to begin on 4 Apr 1988, Francis Coppola’s segment, co-written with his twelve-year-old daughter, Sofia Coppola, was planned for a 1 Jun 1988 start, and principal photography on Scorsese’s segment was set to begin in Aug 1988, according to the 28 Mar 1988 DV.
       The 21 Sep 1988 Var announced that Francis Coppola would arrive on 25 Sep 1988 to film a sequence for his picture, “Life Without Zoe,” at the Acropolis in Athens, Greece.
       The 3 Oct 1988 DV reported a ... More Less

The 21 Sep 1987 People magazine announced that Francis Coppola, Woody Allen, and Martin Scorsese would each direct a segment for the anthology, New York Stories.
       According to the 28 Mar 1988 DV, the idea began with Woody Allen and his longtime producer, Robert Greenhut. In discussions with Greenhut over the years, Allen mentioned that he had lots of “juicy ideas” that were best suited to shorter film lengths, and wondered if other directors had the same problem. Initially, the plan included the involvement of international directors, but Greenhut and Allen soon decided to make it an American project. The three stories would have no connection to each other, other than being set in New York City. Greenhut promised “total control” to Coppola and Scorsese, and both agreed to participate. Greenhut produced the overall project, but Coppola and Scorsese hired separate producers for their individual segments. In the 3 Oct 1988 DV, Greenhut noted that it took a year to clear the schedules for the three directors before filming could begin.
       The segments were filmed separately, with Woody Allen’s film set to begin on 4 Apr 1988, Francis Coppola’s segment, co-written with his twelve-year-old daughter, Sofia Coppola, was planned for a 1 Jun 1988 start, and principal photography on Scorsese’s segment was set to begin in Aug 1988, according to the 28 Mar 1988 DV.
       The 21 Sep 1988 Var announced that Francis Coppola would arrive on 25 Sep 1988 to film a sequence for his picture, “Life Without Zoe,” at the Acropolis in Athens, Greece.
       The 3 Oct 1988 DV reported a $15 million budget, with the 17 Mar 1989 LAWeekly noting that each director received $5 million to produce their segments.
       Martin Scorsese’s short, “Life Lessons,” was inspired by Fyodor Dostoevsky’s 1867 novel, The Gambler, and from the diary of Dostoevsky’s “onetime mistress and protégé,” Apollinaria Suslova, with whom he had an obsessive relationship for three years. Scorsese hired screenwriter Richard Price, who changed the protagonist to a middle-aged painter in love with his assistant.
       According to the 26 Feb 1989 NYT, Paul Herman was the only actor to appear in all three segments of New York Stories. Herman played a cop in “Life Lessons,” a detective in “Oedipus Wrecks,” and “Clifford, the doorman” in “Life Without Zoe.” Herman reported that he had known all three directors for many years, and asserted that each were “brilliant,” though “very different” in their directing styles.
       The world premiere was held 26 Feb 1989 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, as announced in a 28 Feb 1989 HR news item.
       The picture opened in twelve “hand-picked” theaters in six cities, earning $36,000 per screen from first weekend sales, according to the 17 Mar 1989 LAWeekly. The film opened wide on 511 screens in its second weekend, grossing $2.4 million. The May 1989 Box reported $5.5 million in sales receipts after three weeks in release.
       End credits for “Life Without Zoe” acknowledge: "Electronic Cinema® Zoetrope Studios in cooperation with Sony Corporation." Also noted: “Special Thanks to Karl Lagerfeld, Gilles Dufour & Chanel Paris; The Sherry Netherland Hotel, Louis Ventresea; Lincoln Center Theater; Giorgio Armani Boutique; Stefi Cine & TV Production; Melissa Mercourt, Greek Ministry of Culture; Masquerade Costumes built by The Kathy Oberlin Studio.”
       End credits for “Life Lessons” include the following acknowledgments: "Principal painting by Chuck Connelly, courtesy of the Lennon/Weinberg Gallery; Paulette’s artwork by Susan Hambleton, courtesy of Trabia-MacAffee Gallery; Performance piece written & performed by Steve Buscemi; Special thanks to Giorgio Armani Boutique; Holly Solomon Gallery.”
       Acknowledgements for all segments of New York Stories include: “The Producers wish to thank the following for their assistance: New York State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture & Television Development; The New York Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting; New York Police Department’s Movie and T.V. Unit; City of New York Parks & Recreation; General Camera Corp.; Technovision; Camara Mart; Ferco; Lee Lighting America Ltd.; 24 Frame video provided by Video 35 New York; Albert G. Ruben Insurance Co., Inc.; Craft services by Scott Shaffer; David Sharp’s Totally Looped Group; MTV Networks/Abigail Kende; Vogue; Cartier; Thomas G. Smith.”
       The following names were misspelled onscreen: Choreographer Alice Ann Oates as “Alice Ann Oakes” (“Life Without Zoe”), actor Chris Elliott as “Chris Elliot” (“Life Without Zoe”).
       An opening title card lists the cast and crew of "Life Without Zoe" by their first names only, while actress Talia Shire and editor Barry Malkin are referred to by the nicknames "Tally" and "Blackie," respectively. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
May 1989.
---
Daily Variety
28 Mar 1988
p. 1, 8.
Daily Variety
3 Oct 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Feb 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Mar 1989
p. 4, 20.
LA Weekly
17 Mar 1989.
---
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
23 Oct 1988
Section E, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
3 Mar 1989
Calendar, p. 1.
New York Times
26 Feb 1989.
---
New York Times
1 Mar 1989
Section C, p. 17.
People
21 Sep 1987.
---
Variety
21 Sep 1988.
---
Variety
1 Mar 1989
p. 16.
Wall Street Journal
29 Mar 1988.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
"Oedipus Wrecks":
"Life Without Zoe" Starring:
And Introducing
Co-Starring:
and
as Jimmy
"Life Lessons" Starring:
as himself
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Touchstone Pictures Presents
A Jack Rollins & Charles H. Joffe Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Prod mgr, "Oedipus Wrecks"
1st asst dir, "Oedipus Wrecks"
2d asst dir, "Oedipus Wrecks"
DGA trainee, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Dir, "Life Without Zoe"
Prod mgr, "Life Without Zoe"
1st asst dir, "Life Without Zoe"
2d asst dir, "Life Without Zoe"
DGA trainee, "Life Without Zoe"
Dir, "Life Lessons"
Prod mgr, "Life Lessons"
1st asst dir, "Life Lessons"
2d asst dir, "Life Lessons"
DGA trainee, "Life Lessons"
PRODUCERS
Prod, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Exec prod, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Exec prod, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Prod, "Life Without Zoe"
Prod, "Life Without Zoe"
Prod "Oedipus Wrecks"
Scr supv, "Life Without Zoe"
Prod asst, "Life Without Zoe"
Prod, "Life Lessons"
WRITERS
Wrt, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Wrt, "Life Without Zoe"
Wrt, "Life Without Zoe"
Wrt, "Life Lessons"
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Cam op, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Asst cam, "Oedipus Wrecks"
2d asst cam, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Video prod supv, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Still photog, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Key grip, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Dolly grip, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Gaffer, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Best boy, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Cine, "Life Without Zoe"
Cam op, "Life Without Zoe"
Cam op, "Life Without Zoe"
Console op, "Life Without Zoe"
Asst cam, "Life Without Zoe"
Asst cam, "Life Without Zoe"
2d asst cam, "Life Without Zoe"
2d asst cam, "Life Without Zoe"
Still photog, "Life Without Zoe"
Electronic video op, "Life Without Zoe"
Video assist op, "Life Without Zoe"
Video assist op, "Life Without Zoe"
Key grip, "Life Without Zoe"
Dolly grip, "Life Without Zoe"
Gaffer, "Life Without Zoe"
Best boy, "Life Without Zoe"
Dir of photog, "Life Lessons"
Cam op, "Life Lessons"
Asst cam, "Life Lessons"
2d asst cam, "Life Lessons"
Steadicam op, "Life Lessons"
Still photog, "Life Lessons"
Key grip, "Life Lessons"
Dolly grip, "Life Lessons"
Gaffer, "Life Lessons"
Best boy, "Life Lessons"
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Art dir, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Art dept asst, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Prod des, "Life Without Zoe"
Art dir, "Life Without Zoe"
Art dept asst, "Life Without Zoe"
Prod des, "Life Lessons"
Art dir, "Life Lessons"
FILM EDITORS
Ed, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Assoc film ed, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Asst film ed, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Apprentice film ed, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Negative matching, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Ed, "Life Without Zoe"
Asst film ed, "Life Without Zoe"
Apprentice film ed, "Life Without Zoe"
Negative matching, "Life Without Zoe"
Ed, "Life Lessons"
1st asst ed, "Life Lessons"
2d asst ed, "Life Lessons"
Apprentice film ed, "Life Lessons"
Negative matching, "Life Lessons"
SET DECORATORS
Set dec, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Set dresser, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Master scenic artist, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Standby scenic artist, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Prop master, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Const coord, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Chief const grip, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Set dec, "Life Without Zoe"
Set dresser, "Life Without Zoe"
Master scenic artist, "Life Without Zoe"
Standby scenic artist, "Life Without Zoe"
Prop master, "Life Without Zoe"
Const coord, "Life Without Zoe"
Standby carpenter, "Life Without Zoe"
Chief const grip, "Life Without Zoe"
Set dec, "Life Lessons"
Set dresser, "Life Lessons"
Master scenic artist, "Life Lessons"
Standby scenic artist, "Life Lessons"
Prop master, "Life Lessons"
Const coord, "Life Lessons"
Standby carpenter, "Life Lessons"
Chief const grip, "Life Lessons"
COSTUMES
Cost des, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Asst cost des, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Cost asst, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Men's ward supv, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Women's ward supv, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Costumes, "Life Without Zoe"
Assoc cost des, "Life Without Zoe"
Cost asst, "Life Without Zoe"
Cost asst, "Life Without Zoe"
Cost asst, "Life Without Zoe"
Cost asst, "Life Without Zoe"
Men's ward supv, "Life Without Zoe"
Women's ward supv, "Life Without Zoe"
Cost des, "Life Lessons"
Asst cost des, "Life Lessons"
Men's ward supv, "Life Lessons"
Women's ward supv, "Life Lessons"
MUSIC
Mus rec eng, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Mus, "Life Without Zoe"
Mus, "Life Without Zoe"
Mus rec eng, "Life Without Zoe"
Mus rec eng, "Life Without Zoe"
Mus ed, "Life Without Zoe"
SOUND
Prod sd mixer, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Boom op, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Sd rec, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Re-rec mixer, Sound One Corp., "Oedipus Wrecks"
Re-rec mixer, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Sd ed, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Sd ed, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Asst sd ed, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Sd transfer tech, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Prod sd mixer, "Life Without Zoe"
Boom op, "Life Without Zoe"
Sd rec, "Life Without Zoe"
Re-rec mixer, Sound One Corp., "Life Without Zoe"
Re-rec mixer, "Life Without Zoe"
Sd ed, "Life Without Zoe"
Sd ed, "Life Without Zoe"
Sd ed, "Life Without Zoe"
Asst sd ed, "Life Without Zoe"
Asst sd ed, "Life Without Zoe"
Sd transfer tech, "Life Without Zoe"
ADR ed, "Life Without Zoe"
Prod sd mixer, "Life Lessons"
Boom op, "Life Lessons"
Sd rec, "Life Lessons"
Re-rec mixer, Sound One Corp., "Life Lessons"
Re-rec mixer, "Life Lessons"
Supv sd ed, "Life Lessons"
Dial ed, "Life Lessons"
Sd ed, "Life Lessons"
Sd ed, "Life Lessons"
Asst sd ed, "Life Lessons"
Asst sd ed, "Life Lessons"
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec visual eff by, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Spec visual eff by, R/Greenberg Associates, Inc. N
Spec visual eff by, R/Greenberg Associates, Inc. N
Spec visual eff by, R/Greenberg Associates, Inc. N
Spec visual eff by, R/Greenberg Associates, Inc. N
Spec visual eff supv, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Spec visual eff supv, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Main title des, "Life Without Zoe"
Title prod, "Life Without Zoe"
Optical eff, "Life Without Zoe"
Optical eff, "Life Lessons"
Main & end title seas by
NYC
DANCE
Choreog, "Life Without Zoe"
From "Le Cirque du Soleil," "Life Without Zoe"
From "Le Cirque du Soleil," "Life Without Zoe"
From "Le Cirque du Soleil," "Life Without Zoe"
From "Le Cirque du Soleil," "Life Without Zoe"
From "Le Cirque du Soleil," "Life Without Zoe"
From "Le Cirque du Soleil," "Life Without Zoe"
MAKEUP
Makeup artist, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Hairstylist, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Makeup artist, "Life Without Zoe"
Hairstylist, "Life Without Zoe"
Makeup artist, "Life Lessons"
Hairstylist, "Life Lessons"
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Prod coord, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Scr supv, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Prod auditor, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Asst to Mr. Allen, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Projectionist, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Loc mgr, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Loc scout, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Loc scout, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Loc scout, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Casting assoc, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Addl casting, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Addl casting, Todd Thaler Casting, "Oedipus Wrecks
Prod secy, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Asst prod auditor, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Transportation capt, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Transportation co-capt, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Studio mgr, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Prod asst, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Prod asst, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Prod asst, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Prod asst, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Prod asst, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Casting, "Life Without Zoe"
Asst to the prods, "Life Without Zoe"
Prod coord, "Life Without Zoe"
Prod auditor, "Life Without Zoe"
Asst to Mr. Coppola, "Life Without Zoe"
Loc mgr, "Life Without Zoe"
Loc scout, "Life Without Zoe"
Loc scout, "Life Without Zoe"
Loc scout, "Life Without Zoe"
Loc scout, "Life Without Zoe"
Prod secy, "Life Without Zoe"
Asst prod auditor, "Life Without Zoe"
Casting asst, "Life Without Zoe"
Casting asst, "Life Without Zoe"
Rehearsal consultant, "Life Without Zoe"
Dial coach, "Life Without Zoe"
Dialect coach, "Life Without Zoe"
Flute instructor, "Life Without Zoe"
Transportation capt, "Life Without Zoe"
Transportation co-capt, "Life Without Zoe"
Studio mgr, "Life Without Zoe"
Prod asst, "Life Without Zoe"
Prod asst, "Life Without Zoe"
Prod asst, "Life Without Zoe"
Prod asst, "Life Without Zoe"
Prod asst, "Life Without Zoe"
Prod asst, "Life Without Zoe"
Prod asst, "Life Without Zoe"
Prod asst, "Life Without Zoe"
Prod asst, "Life Without Zoe"
Prod asst, "Life Without Zoe"
Casting, "Life Lessons"
Prod coord, "Life Lessons"
Scr supv, "Life Lessons"
Prod auditor, "Life Lessons"
Asst to Mr. Scorsese, "Life Lessons"
Fine arts curator, "Life Lessons"
Loc mgr, "Life Lessons"
Loc scout, "Life Lessons"
Prod office assoc, "Life Lessons"
Asst prod auditor, "Life Lessons"
Addl casting, "Life Lessons"
Addl casting, Todd Thaler Casting, "Life Lessons"
Pub, "Life Lessons"
Transportation capt, "Life Lessons"
Transportation co-capt, "Life Lessons"
Studio mgr, "Life Lessons"
Prod asst, "Life Lessons"
Prod asst, "Life Lessons"
Prod asst, "Life Lessons"
Prod asst, "Life Lessons"
Prod asst, "Life Lessons"
Prod asst, "Life Lessons"
Prod asst, "Life Lessons"
STAND INS
Stunt coord, "Life Lessons"
Stunt diner, "Life Lessons"
Stunt diner, "Life Lessons"
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by, "Oedipus Wrecks"
Dailies adv, "Life Without Zoe"
Col by, "Life Lessons"
Col by
Col timing by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Oedipus Wrecks": “I Want A Girl (Just Like The Girl That Married Dear Old Dad),” written by William Dillon & Harry Von Tilzer, performed by Frankie Carle, courtesy of CBS Records, also performed by Bernie Leighton
“Mother,” written by Howard Johnson & Theodore Morse, performed by Bernie Leighton
“Sing, Sing, Sing,” written by Louis Prima, performed by Benny Goodman, courtesy of RCA Records
+
SONGS
"Oedipus Wrecks": “I Want A Girl (Just Like The Girl That Married Dear Old Dad),” written by William Dillon & Harry Von Tilzer, performed by Frankie Carle, courtesy of CBS Records, also performed by Bernie Leighton
“Mother,” written by Howard Johnson & Theodore Morse, performed by Bernie Leighton
“Sing, Sing, Sing,” written by Louis Prima, performed by Benny Goodman, courtesy of RCA Records
“In A Persian Market,” written by Albert Ketelbey, performed by Wilbur de Paris, courtesy of Heritage Records
“I'll Be Seeing You,” written by Sammy Fain & Irving Kahal, performed by Liberace, courtesy of MCA Records
“I've Found A New Baby,” written by Jack Palmer & Spencer Williams, performed by Wilbur de Paris, courtesy of Heritage Records
“All The Things You Are,” written by Jerome Kern & Oscar Hammerstein II, performed by David Rose & His Orchestra, courtesy of PolyGram Special Projects, a division of PolyGram Records, Inc., also performed by Bernie Leighton
“June In January,” written by Ralph Rainger & Leo Robin, performed by David Rose & His Orchestra, courtesy of MCA Records
"Life Without Zoe": “Zoe,” written by August Darnell, performed by Kid Creole and the Coconuts
“Daiquiri Daiquira,” written by August Darnell, performed by Kid Creole and the Coconuts
“Schoolin',” written by August Darnell, performed by Kid Creole and the Coconuts
“Abu,” written by August Darnell, performed by Kid Creole and the Coconuts
“The Robbery,” written by August Darnell, performed by Kid Creole and the Coconuts
“People Will Talk,” written by August Darnell, performed by Kid Creole and the Coconuts
“Party Girl,” written by August Darnell, performed by Kid Creole and the Coconuts
“Don't Lead Me On,” written by August Darnell, performed by Kid Creole and the Coconuts
“March Of The Waiters,” written by August Darnell, performed by Kid Creole and the Coconuts
“My Love,” written by August Darnell, performed by Kid Creole and the Coconuts
“Takin' A Holiday,” written by August Darnell, performed by Kid Creole and the Coconuts
“12th Street,” written by John Mathiason, performed by Thick as Thieves
“Blue Suede Shoes,” written by Carl Lee Perkins
“Back To School,” written by Alex Garvin, performed by Pianosaurus
"Life Lessons": “Whiter Shade Of Pale,” written by Keith Reid & Gary Brooker, performed by Procol Harum, courtesy of Cube Records, Ltd.
“Politician,” written by Jack Bruce & Peter Brown, performed by Cream, courtesy of PolyGram Special Projects, a division of PolyGram Records, Inc.
“The Right Time,” written by Nappy Brown, Ozzie Cadena & Lew Herman, performed by Ray Charles, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp., by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“Like A Rolling Stone,” written by Bob Dylan, performed by Bob Dylan/The Band, courtesy of CBS Records
“It Could Happen To You,” written by Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen
“That Old Black Magic,” written by Johnny Mercer & Harold Arlen
“Stella By Starlight,” written by Ned Washington & Victor Young
“Conquistador,” written by Keith Reid & Gary Brooker, performed by Procol Harum, courtesy of Cube Records, Ltd. and A&M Records
“Nessun Dorma (from Puccini's Turandot),” written by Giacomo Puccini, performed by Mario Del Monaco, with the Chorus & Orchestra of the Academia Di Santa Cecilia, Rome, conducted by Alberto Erede, courtesy of London Records
“Sex Kick,” written by Nick Christian Sayer, performed by Transvision Vamp, courtesy of UNI Records/MCA Records
“What Is This Thing Called Love,” written by Cole Porter, performed by The Hot Club of France with Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc., Special Markets Division
“Bolero De Django,” written by Django Reinhardt, performed by The Hot Club of France with Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc., Special Markets Division.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
1 March 1989
Premiere Information:
New York world premiere: 26 February 1989
New York opening: 1 March 1989
Los Angeles opening: 3 March 1989
Production Date:
began 4 April 1988
Copyright Claimant:
Touchstone Pictures a.a.d.o. the Walt Disney Company
Copyright Date:
1 March 1989
Copyright Number:
PA399315
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by Metrocolor®
Duration(in mins):
120
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29611
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In “Life Lessons,” famed New York artist Lionel Dobie prepares for an upcoming one-man show, and refuses to give a preview of his work to his agent, Phillip Fowler. When Lionel goes to the airport to pick up Paulette, his twenty-two-year-old assistant, she is unhappy to see him. She insists their relationship is over, and reveals she was in Florida with another man, performance artist Gregory Stark, and not with a girl friend as she had said. Paulette reveals that she and Gregory have already broken up, but tells Lionel she does not want to resume her relationship with him, and plans to leave New York City. Lionel chastises her for giving up on the city, and insists that her own painting will suffer if she leaves. He begs her to stay on living and working at his studio, and she agrees, as long as their sexual relationship comes to an end. Lionel accepts her terms, but his obsession with her becomes a distraction from his paintings. He repeatedly tries to sleep with her, but she rejects him, insisting she does not love him. In time, Lionel begins to channel his desire for Paulette into his art. When Paulette shows him her latest painting, she is infuriated when he refuses to offer his opinion. She telephones her mother insisting she wants to come home. However, when Paulette watches Lionel work, she is overwhelmed with admiration. She attends an art industry party with him, and meets a young artist named Reuben Toro. When Lionel sees them dancing, he becomes jealous, and tries to convince her that Reuben is no good for her. Paulette ignores Lionel, and takes Reuben back to ... +


In “Life Lessons,” famed New York artist Lionel Dobie prepares for an upcoming one-man show, and refuses to give a preview of his work to his agent, Phillip Fowler. When Lionel goes to the airport to pick up Paulette, his twenty-two-year-old assistant, she is unhappy to see him. She insists their relationship is over, and reveals she was in Florida with another man, performance artist Gregory Stark, and not with a girl friend as she had said. Paulette reveals that she and Gregory have already broken up, but tells Lionel she does not want to resume her relationship with him, and plans to leave New York City. Lionel chastises her for giving up on the city, and insists that her own painting will suffer if she leaves. He begs her to stay on living and working at his studio, and she agrees, as long as their sexual relationship comes to an end. Lionel accepts her terms, but his obsession with her becomes a distraction from his paintings. He repeatedly tries to sleep with her, but she rejects him, insisting she does not love him. In time, Lionel begins to channel his desire for Paulette into his art. When Paulette shows him her latest painting, she is infuriated when he refuses to offer his opinion. She telephones her mother insisting she wants to come home. However, when Paulette watches Lionel work, she is overwhelmed with admiration. She attends an art industry party with him, and meets a young artist named Reuben Toro. When Lionel sees them dancing, he becomes jealous, and tries to convince her that Reuben is no good for her. Paulette ignores Lionel, and takes Reuben back to the studio and has sex with him. Lionel is tormented, and blasts his music while he paints. Sometime later, he apologizes to Paulette, buys her a dress, and asks her to escort him to another event. However, Paulette has plans to see Gregory Stark’s latest performance. Lionel suggests that he go as her date to make Gregory jealous. After Gregory’s show, Lionel encourages Paulette to speak to him, but when Gregory is rude to her, Paulette takes her anger out on Lionel, and screams at him in the street. When Lionel grabs Paulette and professes his undying love for her, she challenges him to prove his love by kissing a nearby police officer. He reluctantly approaches the patrol vehicle, and the officer pushes Lionel away with his billy club. Lionel awkwardly blows him a kiss, but when he turns around, Paulette is gone. He returns to the studio and finds her there, barely clothed, and accuses her of taunting him. As Lionel’s lust boils out of control, Paulette bids him goodnight. Sometime later, Paulette sees Gregory Stark at a restaurant. Lionel, who is also there dining with friends, watches Gregory approach Paulette. In a fury, Lionel attacks Gregory for his previous ill treatment of Paulette, and punches him in the face. When Paulette flees, Lionel chases her home and begs her to stay, again professing his love. Paulette demands to know if her paintings are any good, but Lionel refuses to answer, saying only that she is young. Paulette screams and shoves him out of her room. Soon after, her brother arrives to drive her home, and Lionel tells Paulette that she never really knew him. At his art show opening, Lionel receives praise from the guests. When a beautiful young painter compliments his work, Lionel invites her to be his new assistant, offering to provide her with room, board, and “life lessons.”
       In “Life Without Zoe,” precocious twelve-year-old Zoe Montez lives at The Sherry Netherland Hotel in New York City. While her photographer mother, Charlotte, and flutist father, Claudio, travel for work, Hector, the hotel butler, looks after Zoe. At school, Zoe and her friends notice Abu, the new boy at school, who is escorted by a turbaned bodyguard. When they interview him for the school’s Dingbat News, Abu shares that although he comes from a very wealthy family, he is very lonely and has no friends. Zoe tells him that she used to be lonely when her parents traveled, until her mother taught her to make your own fun, which causes others to ask to join in. Abu asks Zoe to be his friend, and they spend the day shopping. When Zoe returns to the hotel after midnight, she walks in as the place is being robbed, and is thrown to the ground, next to Jimmy the doorman, and held at gunpoint. Zoe sees the thieves stealing from her father’s safe-deposit box, and notices them drop a package on the floor. After they leave, Zoe retrieves the package and, inside, finds a large diamond earring with a note from Princess Saroya writing to admire Claudio’s beautiful flute playing. Zoe wakes Hector to tell him about the robbery and the mysterious package. She is reminded of an invitation for her father she received that morning from Sheik Omar, and pieces together the torn party invitation. Her father’s presence is requested at a party where the Sheik’s wife, Princess Saroya, will be wearing the famous “Tears of Shiraz” earrings. Zoe discerns that if the Princess fails to wear the earrings, the Sheik will accuse her father of having a relationship with the Princess. Zoe tells Hector they must return the earring before the party, to avoid any trouble. She telephones Abu for help, knowing that his wealthy family is well connected, and learns that Princess Saroya is Abu’s aunt. Zoe plans a costume party for Abu as a scheme to meet the princess. Soon after, Zoe’s mother, Charlotte, returns home unexpectedly, and tells Zoe she is trying to reconcile with Claudio, from whom she has been estranged. When Zoe critiques her mother’s behavior and fashion choices, Charlotte insists that she is the mother, not the other way around. Soon after, Claudio also returns, and Zoe embraces him warmly, doting on his every need. When Claudio tells Zoe about “a bit of trouble” he is having regarding a mysterious Princess who gave him an earring, Zoe surprises her father by revealing the earring. Claudio mentions that Sheik Omar has been having him followed, and Zoe promises to help him return the earring to avoid any “misunderstanding” with the Sheik. Sometime later, Zoe arrives at Abu’s mansion for the party, with the earring dangling from a turban atop her head. She greets her friends, as several bands and a tightrope walker entertain them. After thanking her for throwing the lavish party, Abu takes Zoe upstairs to meet his aunt, Princess Saroya. As a token of thanks, Princess Saroya places a ring on Zoe’s finger. Later, Zoe’s parents take her out to dinner at the Russian Tea Room, and Claudio plays her to sleep with his flute. He tells Zoe he is leaving on another world tour, and invites her to join him when she is older. Zoe rekindles her relationship with her mother, and suggests they travel together to Paris, France, and join her father on tour. In time, Zoe and Charlotte happily watch Claudio perform at the New Acropolis Museum in Greece.
       In “Oedipus Wrecks,” Sheldon Mills, a fifty-year-old lawyer in New York City, speaks to his psychiatrist about the unresolved issues he has with his mother, Sadie. He worries about introducing his fiancée, Lisa, to his mother that evening, and wishes she would just disappear. His psychiatrist suggests he try to have a sense of humor about her. However, when Sheldon and Lisa arrive, his mother instantly criticizes him, and informs Lisa that Sheldon’s real last name is “Millstein,” but that he goes by “Mills,” much to her chagrin. Throughout dinner, Sadie continues chastising her son in front of Lisa. Before they leave, Sheldon’s mother tells him not to marry Lisa because she has three children from a previous marriage. In time, Sheldon returns to his psychiatrist and complains that his mother arrived at his conservative law office, with his elderly Aunt Ciel in tow, and embarrassed him in front of his colleagues. When Lisa invites Sadie to meet her children over lunch, Sadie gripes about eating outdoors, and continues complaining when they take her to see a magician’s performance. Shandu, the Magician, chooses her from among the crowd to assist him in a trick, and Sadie Millstein reluctantly goes onstage. After his mother gets inside a box, Sheldon takes great pleasure watching Shandu insert swords through it. However, when the trick is over, Shandu opens the box and Sadie has disappeared. The magician tells Sheldon he does not know what happened to her. Sheldon searches for her everywhere, but Sadie remains missing. After several weeks, Sheldon hires a private detective. However, when he notices that his mood and sex life have greatly improved since his mother’s disappearance, he tells the detective to stop searching for her. In time, Sheldon hears commotion on the streets. When he goes outside, he sees the giant head of his mother looming over the city. From up in the clouds, Sadie chastises her son in front of the citizens of New York. Everywhere he goes, his mother watches, constantly criticizing him and insulting Lisa. The citizens of New York readily accept Sadie Millstein’s hovering presence, and Mayor Edward I. Koch even tips his hat to her for helping spot crimes throughout the city. Reporters hound Sheldon when he leaves his apartment, and he suffers a mental breakdown. When his psychiatrist suggests he hire a clairvoyant to help get rid of his mother, Sheldon visits Treva Marx at her home. For three weeks, he helps Treva perform ridiculous rituals, with no results. Sheldon calls Treva a fraud, and she cries, admitting he is right, and explains that she hoped to have a spiritual gift but is really just a failed actress. Sheldon comforts Treva, and offers to take her out to dinner, but she offers to cook for him instead. Over the evening their friendship blossoms, and Sheldon suggests they meet again. When he returns home, he finds a letter from Lisa, claiming they fight too much, and that she has fallen out of love with him. Instead of feeling sad, Sheldon realizes he has fallen in love with Treva. Soon after, he takes Treva outside to meet his mother, introducing her as his new fiancée. After granting approval, Sadie Millstein agrees to come down, and disappears from the sky. She reappears on Sheldon’s couch, insisting she feels fine, and warmly greets Treva. Sheldon watches his mother in wonder. +

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.