Examines the vapid life of a born to wealth New Yorker. After he spends all of what was left to him, his questing after more (without bothersome labor) changes him. The main agent of change is a phenomenally passive and unassuming Henrietta Lowell.
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What a wonderful film! Why did it take me 47 years to get around to seeing this? Somehow just slipped through the cracks, I guess. Walter Matthau and Elaine May, both amazingly talented; together they are almost magical, a comic pair synchronistically quirky and in a strange way, perfect.
35mm, rewatched, re-rating. On film, at a movie theater's screen, i realized the spatial qualities of a film that guarantees to its actors the adequate space of an improvisation in close collaboration with the camera, pleased with their performative spontaneity. Therefore, according to the later films of May and, above all, a very enthralling introduction.
A screwball comedy that deserves far more attention than it gets. Walter Matthau is exeptionally great as the rest of the cast is. Excellent performances across the board, along with a fine, intelligent script makes this movie delicious. 'A New Leaf' is a gallery of eccentric chracters, black comedy, slapstick, fun & sentimentality. A real pleasure.
"The PLO was bombing over there and a cruise ship had been taken hostage ...and then Elaine May was causing problems..."
Elaine May's first film was harshly re-edited by Robert Evans and his minions, but it's qualities shine through his crude attempt to obscure her brilliance. Walter Matthau is hilariously nasty and surprisingly, believably, poignant as the murderous spendthrift, Henry Graham. Having run through his family fortune he must woo and wed an heiress within a month and finds Henrietta Lowell, played by the director herself.