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A New Leaf (1971)

G  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  19 July 1971 (Sweden)
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Henry Graham 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 ... See full summary »



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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
George Rose ...
William Redfield ...
Graham Jarvis ...
Jess Osuna ...
Fred Stewart ...
Mr. von Rensaeller
Mark Gordon ...
Rose Arrick ...
Gloria Cunliffe


Henry Graham 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, and Henry, completely unwilling to exercise the only solution he sees--suicide-- devises a plan with the help of his imaginative butler: he can make money the old-fashioned way--he can marry it. With a temporary loan from Uncle Harry to tide him over, Henry has six weeks to find a bride, marry her, and repay the money, or else he must forfeit all his property to his uncle. With only days remaining, Henry meets clumsy, painfully shy heiress Henrietta Lowell (played by director Elaine May). She's the answer to his prayers--if only Henry can overcome the obstacles placed in his path by Uncle Harry, Henrietta's lawyer, and Henry's own reluctance to wed. Written by Drew from Baltimore

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Romeo and Juliet, Bob and Bing, Ulysses and Grant, George and Martha, Martha and John, Bob and Carol, Ted and Alice, Bob and Alice, Ted and Carol, Bob and Ted, Carol and Alice, Pat and Dick, Julie and David, Byron and His Sister, Bill and Coo, Liz and Eddie, Liz and Mike, Liz and Dick, Dick and Sybil, Eddie and Debbie, Muck and Meyer, Hollywood and Vine, Anthony and Cleopatra, and now Henry & Henrietta... the love couple of the seventies... and the laugh riot of the year.


Comedy | Romance


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 July 1971 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Bogata, wolna, samotna  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Johnny Mandel composed an original score but most of it was rejected. A few of his cues remain on the soundtrack. See more »


Henrietta Lowell: They say if you don't scratch, it itches less.
Henry Graham: Well, they're wrong. It only looks like it itches less because you're not scratching.
See more »


Referenced in The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) See more »


New Coronation March
Music by Johnny Mandel
[Played on violin at wedding ceremony]
See more »

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User Reviews

Another Flawed Hollywood Gem
7 July 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There is a category of films that includes several movies made by serious artists which emerged in a final form much different from that originally conceived. This group includes Erich Von Stroheim's silent masterpiece "Greed"------originally made as a movie that ran for over nine hours!; John Huston's filming of Stephen Crane's "Red Badge of Courage"-----finally presented to us by M-G-M in a badly mutilated 69 minute fragment of its original form; Orson Welles' conception of Booth Tarkington's "Magnificent Ambersons"---taken away from him by RKO bureaucrats who then edited it down to a truncated 88 minutes; and Frank Capra's "Lost Horizon"---originally released at 130 minutes in length and then chopped down to 109 minutes in subsequent re-releases.

We will never know what these works would have ended up looking like. Even in a recent attempt to "restore" "Greed" to something approximating its original form, the missing links are supplied through available studio "still" photos. Such travesties have been going on for years. Judy Garland's much admired version of "A Star Is Born" can now be seen only in a "restored" version that follows a fate somewhat similar to that of "Greed." The same is true of "Lost Horizon." Nonetheless, we should be grateful that a portion of these films did survive, to give us the pleasure of seeing something very special---even if only in a limited sense,

This takes us to "A New Leaf." As most film goers know, Elaine May wrote a significantly different (and much darker) screenplay than the movie we now see on the screen. But to her credit, the film she made had so many elements of true greatness in it that the studio edited version now available is very enjoyable on its own terms. It is one of the most underrated comedies of the 1970's and surely one of the funniest and most inspired.

The ensemble of actors May gathered created some superb comic characters---and have never done any better work in comedy. May and Walter Matthau's chemistry in the leading roles worked exceptionally well. William Redfield (who died much too young) is wonderful in a carefully understated role. And singled out for special recognition is George Rose as Matthau's long-suffering valet---a nuanced presentation by a very gifted actor.

Matthau's romance of May is sweet, touching, at times somewhat edgy and always engaging. The growth of their relationship from an almost bloodless union of convenience to the quite tender match up at the end is but one example of the high level of May's comedic writing and the very capable acting of May and Matthau. Too bad that they never had the opportunity to appear together again.

"A New Leaf" deserves both a wider audience, and repeated viewings to appreciate just what a great film it really is. As others have noted, it also demands a good DVD presentation for that whole new generation of lovers of fine comedy who have never seen it before.

Can anyone watch Renee Taylor in her one great scene with Matthau uttering the line "Don't let them out!" possibly ever forget this movie?

Finally---a personal appeal to Elaine May. Some day (soon we hope), "A New Leaf" will be released to DVD in an edition worthy of the film so many people have come to admire. You will no doubt be asked to supply the DVD with an audio commentary on the film. It is essential----really critical----that your views on the making of this film be preserved for present and future generations. Almost 40 years have passed since its original release. Tell us your story!

14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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