A New Leaf (1971) - Rotten Tomatoes

A New Leaf (1971)

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Movie Info

Elaine May wrote and directed (credits May attempted to have removed after the studio made extensive cuts in the film) this dark and funny comedy about marriage, murder, and money. May also stars as Henrietta, a shy and clumsy wallflower, who is also heir to a large pile of money. Indigent playboy Graham (Walter Matthau), who has squandered his inherited trust fund and needs to get a new source of money, begins to ply his affections upon Henrietta. When his butler (George Rose) recommends that Graham should marry Henrietta and gain control of her funds, Graham borrows money from his miserable uncle (James Coco) and wines and dines Henrietta. Graham's dastardly plan is to marry Henrietta, take her off on a trip to the mountains, and murder her. Graham can then return from her funeral and inherit his wealth. But thrown into his path toward the perfect murder are a collection of Henrietta's loyal -- and not so loyal -- retainers and the small dim light of Graham's own conscience.

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Cast

Walter Matthau
as Henry Graham
Elaine May
as Henrietta Lowell
Jack Weston
as Andy McPherson
James Coco
as Uncle Harry
George Rose
as Harold Henry, Graham's Butler
Doris Roberts
as Mrs. Traggert
Rose Arrick
as Gloria Cunliffe
Renée Taylor
as Sally Hart
Mildred Clinton
as Mrs. Heinrich
Fred Stewart
as Mr. Van Rensaeller
Carol Morley
as Girl at Charity Ball
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Critic Reviews for A New Leaf

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (2)

A film of such wit and comic invention that it belongs among the great American comedies.

December 13, 2013 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
Village Voice
Top Critic

Henry's attempted seduction of Henrietta is a masterpiece of slow-burn hilarity - just wait till you hear the way Matthau rolls his tongue around the horrors of 'Mogen David's extra heavy Malaga wine... with lime juice'.

February 21, 2016 | Full Review…
Movie Talk

A screwball-oddball comedy that deserves far more attention than it gets...

January 29, 2016 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
LarsenOnFilm

It's great fun to watch Walter Matthau play against type as a spoilt trust fund kid, but it's the versatile and inventive May that he (and the audience) fall for.

January 13, 2016 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
The Skinny

Elaine May's directorial debut, a beautifully refined exposition of screwball comedy's brackish side

February 24, 2014 | Full Review…
CinePassion

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.

September 12, 2012 | Full Review…
Combustible Celluloid

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.

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

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