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A New Leaf (1971)

Walter Matthau , Elaine May , Elaine May  |  G |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (359 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Walter Matthau, Elaine May, Jack Weston, James Coco, George Rose
  • Directors: Elaine May
  • Writers: Elaine May
  • Producers: Howard W. Koch
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Olive Films
  • DVD Release Date: September 4, 2012
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (359 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0089TQ7AG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,704 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Henry Graham (Walter Matthau) is a man with a problem: he has run through his entire inheritance and is completely unequipped to provide for himself. His childhood guardian, Uncle Harry (a deliciously mean-spirited James Coco), refuses to give him a dime, so Henry devises a plan with the help of his imaginative butler (George Rose) to make his money the old-fashioned way - he can marry it. But he cannot see himself as a happily married man, so he comes up with an even more devious solution... with a temporary loan from his uncle, Henry has six weeks to find a bride and repay the loan; otherwise he must forfeit all his property to his uncle. Henry finally meets his dearly beloved, a clumsy, painfully shy heiress Henrietta Lowell (played by the film's writer/director Elaine May). The answer to his prayers - if only he can overcome the obstacles placed in his path by his uncle and Henrietta's Lawyer (Jack Weston).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
132 of 134 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carbon on the Valves. April 27, 2001
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
This comedy performance by Walter Matthou ranks with his best work, such as in The Odd Couple, Sunshine Boys etc. Unfortunately, not as many people have seen it, as this movie is a little-known gem.

I saw it as a second feature and almost missed it as I had never heard or read anything about it. We stayed, and laughed so hard I looked for it for years and told people about this odd film no one knows about.

Thank God cable aired it and it became available on VHS so I could recommend it to friends. The movie is simply hilarious.

Matthau is an arrogant, cultured, vain, selfish and rich snob suddenly finding himself penniless. His only salvation is to marry a rich woman and he finds the perfect target in the introverted and socially inept heiress/botanist played by Elaine May.

Matthau, dreading this intrusion into his perfectly ordered bachelor existence, decides murder of this ditz-of-all-time is the answer to all his problems. But, that is just the beginning to a very funny and ultimately touching story.

There are some of the best written and performed comedy bits in this film that I've ever seen. Starting with William Redfield as an accountant trying to explain to a willfully uncomprehending Matthau that he's broke; James Coco as Matthau's detested uncle extorting him over breakfast; Jack Weston as May's conniving and crooked lawyer/boyfriend; Matthau proposing to May while kneeling on broken glass; the wedding with May being given away by a blubbering Weston; the Honeymoon and the toga nightgown; May's disasterous household of thieving servants; and so on.

Special mention must go to George Rose who plays Matthau's valet and all-purpose manservant.
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71 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WHY is this film NOT on DVD!!!??? May 7, 2006
Format:VHS Tape
I'm very pleased to see a flurry of 'new'/er reviews of this film. I only hope the DVD gods take notice!!

10 out of 10 people found the following comment useful :-

WHY is this film NOT on DVD!!!???, 16 May 2005

9/10

Author: jim6263 from So.California, USA

I'll not recount the story, as others have. The lack of response and proper public recognition for this film my be due to Elaine May's very dry wit and wry sense of humor, which, I think, simply sailed over the heads of many viewers. And it's truly most unfortunate, as this is a VERY funny film (for those who are perceptive and appreciate the subtler and darker shades of humor and life)! To the dude who rated it a "1" (on IMDb): "A New Leaf" was nominated for 2 Golden Globes (Comedy -- Best Picture and Best Actress) and for the WGA's (the industry's official Writer's Guild -- i.e., her peers, other screenwriters) writing award for best comedy (from another medium) that year. No offense, but I value my own (and their) sensibilities a bit more than yours! And it's impeccably acted, as others have mentioned, filled with flawless comedic timing and wry, wry wit. Simply wonderful.
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She's unscrewing my Montrazini May 19, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
That Elaine May has directed herself in a film only once bids fair to become one of the mythic disappointments of film history, like the hostile neglect visited upon so much of Orson Welles' work, like the fact that "Night of the Hunter" was Charles Laughton's only film as a director, like Oliver Stone having access to film-making equipment.

The version here is not the film that May made. She attempted to no avail to have her name removed from it when the studio hijacked her 3-hour edit and decided that the cut we now have is the one that's good for us. Heresy though it may be to say so, if this version is butchery, the original must have been...the best movie ever made.

Henry Graham (Walter Matthau) is a suddenly penniless bon vivant who realizes he can perpetuate his extravagant lifestyle only by marrying, then killing, a rich woman. He sets his sights on Henrietta Lowell (Elaine May), a shy, painfully awkward, stupendously naive heiress and botanist who appears never to have enjoyed the romantic attentions of a man. This seeming pushover will prove to be, in a manner of speaking, an immovable object.

Henrietta Lowell is a comic character with no awareness that she is a comic character. From the moment she first appears onscreen (at which point Henry makes brilliantly cynical use of her klutziness to demonstrate what a terribly gallant fellow he is, instantly cementing poor Henrietta's devotion) until the final frames, she thinks she's living in a love story, a fairy tale, not a black comedy. Her innocence, which seems so to endanger her, will actually be her salvation. And Henry's too.

May's remarkably well-polished script builds from the ground up a world, its denizens, and the humor inherent in both.
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's all true. December 27, 2003
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
This movie is so clever and funny, that it is easy to miss the love story at its heart. It is one of my all-time favorite films and I've been evangelizing it for years.
I'm only adding this review to encourage lobbying to bring this film out on DVD and restore it to May's original cut.
So if each person who reads this will get the movie and show it to 10 friends, and so on, and we get a huge deman for the full three our releas on DVD, we might create movie history.
It is a crime that this movie has been so badly neglected since if was first released.
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