A New Leaf (1971)
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Henry Graham (Walter Matthau), a spendthrift bounder who wastes his inheritance on high living and fast Italian cars, looks for new means of support as his money runs out. The situation is urgent, because Henry's Uncle Harry (James Coco) has given him a short-term loan with very bad payback terms. He sets his sights on Henrietta Lowell, a mousy rich-girl botanist (Elaine May) whom he intends to marry and murder. However, love blooms between the two as Henry uncovers the myriad ways her lawyers and staff are swindling her. Several of the smaller roles offer highlights, including Jack Weston as Henrietta's two-timing thief of a lawyer. Director/actor/writer Elaine May did not have complete creative control of this film and was dissatisfied with the editing (which cut 78 minutes from her version), so she filed a lawsuit to prevent her name from being used as director. Despite this, the film was successful at the box office. … More
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Critic Reviews for A New Leaf
A film of such wit and comic invention that it belongs among the great American comedies.
Elaine May's directorial debut, a beautifully refined exposition of screwball comedy's brackish side
May's brand of humor is beyond deadpan, and you may find yourself laughing long after the fact, even if you're not laughing in the moment.
Blessed with a perpetual craggy hangdog, Matthau is May's perfect comic foil.
Occasionally charming, always watchable star vehicle. Pleasantly offbeat
Audience Reviews for A New Leaf
Its a shame we never have and probably never will see May's original three hour cut because as wonderfully weird and funny as the current version is, the film's energy does fizzle out towards the end. Perhaps with the darker subplots restored this could change, but since that is unlikely I'll take the sweet, oddball romantic comedy we got instead.More
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