A New Leaf


Action / Comedy / Romance

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 84%
IMDb Rating 7.4 10 3837


Uploaded By: LINUS
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December 25, 2015 at 09:56 AM



Doris Roberts as Mrs. Traggert
Walter Matthau as Henry Graham
William Hickey as Smith
Renée Taylor as Sharon Hart
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
758.66 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 42 min
P/S 0 / 1
1.56 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 42 min
P/S 3 / 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Mark Turner 10 / 10

Funny Dark Comedy

I remember years ago my uncle told me he'd seen a movie he thought was hilarious called A NEW LEAF. He told me the basic plot and it sounded interesting but for some reason I never got the chance to see it. Keep in mind this was years before the first VCR was easily accessed. I seem to recall seeing it was available on VHS at one time but few if any stores I went to had it. With Olive Films releasing it as part of their Olive Signature collection I finally got the chance to see it and I'm glad I did. I just hope more will make it happen as well.

Written, directed by and starring Elaine May (her first directorial job) the movie stars Walter Matthau as Henry Graham, a wealthy fop who spends his time with a fast sport car or at the local racquet club avoiding his attorney when the movie opens. He's finally reached and meets with the attorney who tells him he is broke, no money whatsoever. It turns out he's wasted it away his inheritance on his exorbitant lifestyle, both his interest and principal.

With no one to get money from, no prospects for a job since he's never done a single thing in his entire life, he goes from place to place for one last visit. When he returns home he discusses his plight with his manservant Harold (George Rose), Harold suggest that he take a short term loan from his uncle and then use what talents he has to find a suitable wife who is wealthy. At first reluctant to do so since he's set in his way and not a very friendly person willing to share anything he co-opts the idea while keeping to himself the plan to murder his soon to be wife, whoever she might be.

His uncle Harry (James Coco) agrees laughing all the while. He forces Henry to put up anything that he has left as collateral and then adds his own stipulation to their agreement. Henry must find a wife and marry her within 6 weeks or forfeit everything to Harry.

Henry sets out to find a mate among the wealthy but it isn't as easy as he expected. On the last week he meets Henrietta Lowell (May), a clumsy wallflower with no living relatives who inherited a fortune from her father. Henrietta is two things: a botanist who teaches because she loves it and a complete and utter klutz.

As Henry tries to woo her he finds plenty of competition from those who have a stake in the game. First up is her attorney Andy McPherson (Jack Weston) who has sights on her wealth as well. Then his uncle Harry provides Andy with the ammunition needed to shoot down Henry. But this is a dark romantic comedy we're talking about here and of course the pair are wed. Now the question becomes where and how will Henry take out his new wife? And just who will stand in his way as he makes that attempt?

The laughs in this film are plentiful with most of them going to Matthau. For some reason Matthau always played a slob of a character, most notably as Oscar Madison in THE ODD COUPLE. But here he's well dressed and coiffed as a bon vivant who turns up his nose at those he feels are beneath him while depending on Harold to motivate him. Several comments and lines are funnier spoken in the way only Matthau could say them, my favorite being when talking to Harold after a night out with Henrietta when he says "Never have I seen one woman in whom every social grace was so lacking. Did I say she was primitive? I retract that. She's feral. I've never spent a more physically destructive evening in my life. I am nauseated. I limp. And I can feel my teeth rotting away from an excess of sugar that no amount of toothpaste can dislodge. I will taste those damn Malaga coolers forever. That woman is a menace not only to health, but to western civilization as we know it."

May shines here as well playing the shyest of women to walk this planet while at the same time exuding an innocence and charm that draws you to her at the same time. When she makes mistakes or does something klutzy you feel for her. The same holds true knowing what Henry intends to do with her once he has the opportunity. She is completely unaware of his true intentions and sees only the good in him, falling for him immediately and enjoying any and all time spent with him no matter how he might treat her.

May's direction is superb as well though how much of her intentions remained once the film was taken from he is up for discussion. Running over on time, shooting too much footage and taking forever to eventually turn in a final print, various people in the extras included here note that the film was taken from her by Paramount who didn't understand exactly what she was going for. It's even noted that the film had a much darker nature than what we see here. Still what we are offered remains one of the funniest comedies I've seen in some time. Not bad for a movie made back in 1971.

Olive has chosen to offer a high quality restoration from 4K scan of original camera negative. The extras include a commentary track featuring film scholar Maya Montanez Smukler, THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR: EDITING A NEW LEAF featuring an interview with editor Angelo Corrao, WOMEN IN HOLLYWOOD: A TRAGEDY OF COMIC PROPORTIONS featuring an interview with director Amy Heckerling, the original trailer and a 16 page booklet featuring an essay entitled ODE ON A GRECIAN NIGHTGOWN written by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and the short story the film was based on, THE GREEN HEART, written by author Jack Ritchie.

If you never heard of this film it's not much of a surprise. With the exception of the year it was released when it was nominated for several awards, May was known more for her stand-up comedy with Mike Nichols and less as an actress then and later and Matthau was an older actor by this time. As the years passed after its initial release neither was the box office draw they once were and fans during the early years of video were more inclined to look for the newest films at the time. Discs has made it possible to rediscover some of the best movies out there at an affordable price and Olive is one company leading the way to provide that opportunity. Take my word for it, this is a movie that's worth adding to your collection. I know I'll be taking it out on occasion when I need a laugh.

Reviewed by bkoganbing 6 / 10

She kind of grows on you

Without a doubt A New Leaf is one quirky and weird movie and maybe the strangest role Walter Matthau ever did in his career. WAtching it I thought it was a role more suited to Jack Lemmon. Matthau is too blue collar in his personality for this.

Despite miscasting Matthau does succeed here in playing a totally spoiled and useless millionaire, Arthur without the severe drinking problem. He's never done a lick of work in his life just spends his money acquiring millionaire type toys until his accountant William Redfield who has no use for him tells him he's flat broke.

When the really rich uncle James Coco cuts him off in a beautifully played scene by Coco, it never occurs to Matthau to get a job. What he decides is to marry a woman richer and start living off her money.

At a singles event for the rich and bored he finds what he considers a perfect match in Elaine May. May is the real star and in fact she directs A New Leaf. She is flawless as this incredibly wealthy, but socially inept billionairess who is a professor of botany. Everyone intimidates her including her household staff led by Doris Roberts and they take horrible advantage of her.

Matthau with his snobbish ways and the inept May are the odd couple forgive the reference pun of the century. But that's all right as he plans to murder her and inherit her money.

All I'll say is he never quite gets around to homicide. Strange as it seems May kind of grows on Matthau though in the real world I can't see how.

I should also point out the role of George Rose as Matthau's class conscious butler who has a relationship similar to John Gielgud and Dudley Moore. He's got some of the best lines in the film.

One weird role for Matthau, I think he's miscast, but overall the film is fine.

Reviewed by lasttimeisaw 7 / 10

Elaine May, an intimidating triple threat

A NEW LEAF is Elaine May's triple threat caper, marks her director debut and pairs with a puffy Walter Matthau, plays Henry Graham, a middle-aged, blue-blooded, marriage-scorning boulevardier, who must find a rich wife within 6 weeks, otherwise, he will go bankrupt and lose all his property to his avaricious uncle (Coco).

Certainly Henry has no one else but himself to blame for the disastrous situation just because he is very ill-equipped to administer his own financial affairs, and splurges money as he wishes, a privilege for those who are born with a silver spoon. But he is absolutely has no desire to put an end to his free-as-a-bird bachelor lifestyle, so, here is his plan, find a suitable bride, marry her, then murder her, so he can inherit all her money and stay single as longer as he prefers.

That's the premise of Henry meets Henrietta (May, in her trademark oversized spectacles), an unassuming, socially clumsy bachelorette, a botanist, well-heeled thanks to her late father, no families or relatives, all alone in this vast world, she is tailor-made for Henry and most importantly, she is quite fond of him. Henry's courtship goes extremely smooth although he finds her inept nature is too repugnant to endure, downgrades her from "primitive" to "regressive". Despite of a droll proposal (Henry kneels down on the broken glasses) and the intended sabotage from his uncle and Henrietta's long-time suitor-cum-lawyer Andy McPherson (Weston), within one week, they are hitched! A snapshot of their honeymoon looks like this, Henry is reading BEGINNERS GUIDE TO TOXICOLOGY in the foreground while Henrietta in the background, is trying to reach for a rare fern growing under the tip of a cliff with only one of her legs fastened to a rope. Get rid of that book and lend her a hand, Henry!

Back from the honeymoon, to Henry's dismay, he finds out that Henrietta, not just a incorrigibly daffy and geeky type, she is also categorically the most incompetent person ever, to run an estate, whose over-diplomatic policy vis-à-vis her house staff, headed by the housekeeper Mrs. Traggert (a flirty Doris Roberts), obliges Henry to take the liberty and execute an overhaul of the shameless parasites, then get acquainted with the financial status and even take an interest of the taxes management in order to get the place running proper. His trustworthy butler Harold (Rose, epitomises a dying species of his own) detects Henry's intention, implies that maybe this is not an ill-fit match after all, it might be Henrietta's cosmic incompetence that spurs Henry's strength of will to run such a huge property with a confident hand, aka. she makes him a better, more capable man.

But, that doesn't completely change Henry's conviction when a golden chance emerges, Henry agrees to join Henrietta in her annual field trip to the Adirondacks, just two of them, in the wild, on a canoe, through the torrents. Will he relent when the crunch arrives? Maybe he can take an alternative, sticks to the marriage with her, he could even teach history in the university, as Henrietta constantly cajoles, above all, she shows her genuine affection through the only thing she is good at, gifts him a form of immortality, if that could not soften a man's murderous heart, what else could?

Undeterred by its murder-centred wickedness, A NEW LEAF predictably but adequately extracts a heartwarming and life-affirming message out of its outré and farcical story-line (if a bit too patriarchal for my palate), a welcoming chemistry comes off naturally between Matthau and May, which would prompt their second on-screen collaboration in Herbert Ross' less whimsical ensemble piece California SUITE (1978). May's directorial dexterity doesn't leave a strong imprint, nevertheless, as a dark comedy with an agenda too quirky to find either relevance or credibility, it has a level-headed through-line to stick with without pandering to cheap laughter or offensive caricature which most of its peers had done or would have done, and eventually offers a populist suggestion that we might give marriage a try no matter how poles apart the two parties are, and sometimes a sweet compromise is not that unthinkably bad.

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