A New Leaf


Action / Comedy / Romance


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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 1080p
758.66 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 42 min
P/S 2 / 3
1.56 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 42 min
P/S 2 / 4

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by wisaacs 10 / 10

Brilliant, edgy socio/romantic comedy; flawless

This film stands up as one of the most sophisticated and heartfelt comedies ever put to celluloid. Watch it alongside "Hobson's Choice", "Hail The Conquering Hero", "The Apartment", "Shop Around The Corner", "Father Goose", "Trouble In Paradise", and "Love Streams". Although not a romance, "The Ladykillers" is a black comedy with a similar tone. See if "A New Leaf" doesn't hold up to these consensus classics.

Romance always involves the conflict between selfish vanity and naive devotion or love.

Most romantic comedies simply give up the fight at the end, and collapse into gooey, deluded sentimentality (e.g. "French Kiss", "Roxanne"). Some err in the opposite way, concluding on a bittersweet ambivalent implication that love is always dulled or compromised (e.g. "Nothing In Common", "Chasing Amy", "Purple Rose Of Cairo").

The acid test of a romantic comedy screenplay is its balance, its resolution of this issue. Can the lovers truly satisfy each other, without either one abusing or sacrificing his unique character, his intellect, his humanity?

The more starkly and intelligently these forces are presented and opposed, the more difficult the problem. Imagine, then, the most selfish, vain, sarcastic and sophisticated man imaginable, meeting and marrying (for her money) an utterly naive, pure, awkward, cloistered academic woman; a botanist.

Fans of irony enjoy silly dated romances for the stereotypes, the gratuitous sloppy honeyed sentiment, the emotional denial. "A New Leaf" does not shrink from the harsh side of the world, from the dark human character, and (except for the music) it has not dated an hour since its release.

The score may be slightly dated, mixed too high in places, but the music is sweet uptown Manhattan violin-muzak, reminiscent of "Theme From A Summer Place", so why quibble?

Henry Graham marries Henrietta Lowell intending to kill her. He is too bad to be true. Yet, his venal motives are only an exaggeration of our own. He doesn't want to be married; he wants to be free! He doesn't want to share, he wants everything for himself! He has never needed people to like him. Only now, he is desperate for money.

Henrietta, Henry's opposite, is foremost a botanist. She is a pure academic, uninitiated in the ways of sophistication, deception, vanity or power, despite her wealth. Her mind is unprejudiced, but intensely isolated, focused. She lives in a rarefied climate. Her dream in life is to discover and catalog a new species of plant, a "new leaf", which would cause her name to be modestly memorialized in the scientific literature.

These two opposites must combine in everyone. It is the problem of romance, most precisely stated. We love. We trust. Yet, we have infantile desires and vanities. We must struggle in a corrupt world that doesn't give a damn about our delicate preoccupations, to wrest from it the admiration and pleasure our dark hearts desire. We are Henry, we are Henrietta. Can these characters love each other? Can we accept, integrate ourselves?

"A New Leaf" rollicks with endlessly clever, sarcastic, inventive, trenchant dialog, reels through convoluted and finely wrought complications, revels in every character, each played by a brilliant comedian. Matthau was born to play this archetype of morbid, deranged, malevolent and dissolute urbanity. Elaine May conjures an ineffable, lethal sexiness, her myopic naivete perfectly complementing her gentle intellectual clarity. The film is an immaculate, fierce, luminous, huge-hearted gem.

Reviewed by Whythorne 10 / 10

A buried treasure

Every now and then you stumble across a film that has been forgotten, or just ignored, and for the life of you, you can't figure out why. "A New Leaf" is such a film. Seeing this wonderful comedy for the first time was the movie-watching equivalent of discovering buried treasure.

One of the marks of an excellent comedy is one that you can watch a number of times and still laugh involuntarily even though you know what is coming. The performances of Matthau and May, as well as the supporting cast are that priceless.

So many funny and memorable scenes, but a couple of my favorites are: the meeting between Henry Graham (Matthau) and his accountant Beckett (Redfield) as Beckett tries to contain his frustration and explain to Matthau that his money is gone ("perfect"); and the scene where Graham crawls to his rich uncle (James Coco) to ask to borrow money while the uncle is favoring an electric pepper mill during his lavish meal (the expressions on Matthau's face are exquisite).

A delightful, black romantic comedy that somehow manages to be very light, and as a bonus even subtly tosses out some profound truths.

Reviewed by Roisin Moriarty ([email protected]) 10 / 10

An almost forgotten comedy classic

I adore this film! Every time I see it, it just gets better and better. Mind you, the first time I saw it, I thought "Hmmm... ain't so sure 'bout this one". I don't recall the reason behind watching it again after my initial luke warm reaction; I'm only glad I did.

"A New Leaf" concerns the exploits of spoilt New York "gentleman", Henry Graham (the truly wonderful Walter Matthau) and his attempts to find a rich wife who can replenish the fortune that he's frittered away. The charmingly naive and unsuspecting Henrietta (the multi-talented Elaine May) is his chosen victim and his intent is to marry her, murder her and spend her considerable fortune at his leisure. However, he doesn't reckon with her con-merchant lawyer and his entorage of assorted leeches and soon finds himself taking charge of the badly organised household that's happily ripping off poor, trusting Henrietta left, right and centre.

It's largely the performance of Walter Matthau that makes this film such a joy to watch. Although his character never really seems to lose his arrogance or selfishness, you can't help warming to him and delighting in the way Henrietta manages to change his intentions without ever seeming to know it. It's also worth watching for the wonderfully understated performance of George Rose as Harold, Henry's "gentleman's gentleman"; always aware of what his employer is up to but discreet enough to do no more than pass the most innocuous of comments in his lilting Scottish accent.

Don't pay too much heed to what the detractors have said about this movie. Take a look for yourself and you might find that its innate charm completely wins you over.

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