A New Leaf

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Movie Summary

Elaine May

Henry Graham has a problem. His father left him $90,000 a year for life, but he's been living on about $200,000 a year for as long as his lawyer can remember, and now there isn't any money left. The notion of working for a living is, obviously, anathema, so all poor Henry can do is get married. Henrietta Lowell seems the obvious candidate - she's socially inept, extremely trusting, utterly innocent and nothing but rich. If Henry does marry her, well, maybe she'll have some sort of "accident" soon afterwards, and then... But things do not work out as the would-be Bluebeard intends, and, in the unlikeliest circumstances imaginable, love does find a way.

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Mike Nichols, director Elaine May's former comedy partner, is said to have appeared in a small cameo role in the film - which, despite his fame as the director of "The Graduate" and other films, was cut out by the studio.

    • Although this film was acclaimed by critics and became a cult favourite, Elaine May tried to sue Paramount over their re-editing of the film, which she claimed had ruined it. Her cut of the film was well over two-and-a-half hours long. It featured a sub-plot (which was removed entirely) involving a nefarious private detective who was poisoned by the Walter Matthau character. There are no murders in the 102-minute version of the film, and the private eye (who was played by William Hickey) is unmentioned and unseen. This footage has never been restored.

    • This was Elaine May's first film as director, and the studio was very worried by her unusual work methods - she would rehearse with the actors all day, and it was very rare for a camera to turn before four o'clock in the afternoon. Walter Matthau was asked to intercede with her, but merely replied, "Fellows, you're dealing with an artist." He continued to praise her highly as a director for the rest of his life. (The film did not go over budget or schedule).

  • QUOTES (6)

  • NOTES (1)

    • There is very little music in the film, with most of the score coming from Arnold Kettelby's long-extant composition, "In A Monastery Garden". However, there were a small number of very brief music cues composed for the film by Johnny Mandel, who is not credited. (There is no music credit at all in the film).


More Info About This Movie


Comedy, Drama