A New Leaf

1971

A New Leaf

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 34

84%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 992
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A New Leaf Photos

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 (34) | Top Critics (7)

  • Reveals the essence of marital love more brutally than many confrontational melodramas.

    Feb 6, 2017 | Full Review…
  • A film of such wit and comic invention that it belongs among the great American comedies.

    Dec 13, 2013 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • It's sophisticated and funny, adroitly put together for the most part.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Elaine May's directorial debut still makes for cherishable comedy viewing precisely because she eschewed the modish flash her former cabaret partner Mike Nichols brought to his movie-making.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…

    Paul Taylor

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The movie being shown at the Music Hall is so nutty and so funny, so happily reminiscent of the screwball comedies people aren't supposed to be able to make any more, I'm quite satisfied to let things stand.

    May 9, 2005 | Full Review…
  • One of the funniest movies of our unfunny age.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for A New Leaf

  • Oct 29, 2018
    The ending is a bit hard to buy (which is a flaw that should be attributed to the producer who re-cut the film against Elaine May's wishes), but still this is a refreshing and extremely funny comedy that benefits from an excellent script and Matthau's hilarious performance.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 08, 2014
    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 B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 15, 2010
    Why have I not heard of this movie before?! Walther Matthau was great as a scheming playboy & I only just found out here that Elaine May directed & starred.A VERY good movie & a great ending.I loved it
    Brody M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 06, 2007
    It's great--unique, funny, bizarre.
    Morris N Super Reviewer

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