A New Leaf

1971

A New Leaf (1971)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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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 (22) | Top Critics (3)

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…

One of the funniest movies of our unfunny age.

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

A New Leaf is a special film from a special filmmaker.

Oct 30, 2018 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

I watched this movie on a flight back from San Francisco and was laughing so hard that I'm pretty sure my surly teenage seatmate wanted to kill me.

Oct 23, 2018 | Full Review…

Matthau and May are the main reason to watch this film, as they make the most of every scene with nuanced mannerisms and reactions. Compared to today's comedies, this one feels less contrived and more leisurely paced.

Jan 16, 2018 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for A New Leaf

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 Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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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