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A New Leaf [Blu-ray]
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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.Read more ›
10 out of 10 people found the following comment useful :-
WHY is this film NOT on DVD!!!???, 16 May 2005
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Elaine May's work here is nothing short of brilliant, as is Walter Matthau's performance. This is one of the funniest movies of all time in my opinion. Read morePublished 3 hours ago by Steven Crummy
such a great movie..not many people have seen it...recommend it highly...sweet story..Matthau is great as usual...a movie you could watch with your kids... Read morePublished 2 days ago by faye bowman
Walter Matthau, Elaine May, Doris Roberts, James Coco are legends at their best in this comedy of class and manners. I couldn't be further from the world shown in this film. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Linnea Johnson
After the lapse of many years since my last viewing, this film was funnier than I remembered. Stellar performance by Matthau, and May's direction and acting are matchless.Published 24 days ago by our ilk
This is my all time favorite movie with Walter Matthau, I was thrilled to be able to download it.Published 1 month ago by L. Wing