Thursday, September 22, 2016

A New Leaf (1971)

Director: Elaine May

Writers: Elaine May, Jack Ritchie

Composer: ???

Starring: Walter Matthau, Elaine May, Jack Weston, George Rose, James Coco. Doris Roberts, Renee Taylor, William Redfield, Graham Jarvis, Jess Osuna, David Doyle, Fred Stewart, Mark Gordon, Rose Arrick

More info: IMDb

Tagline: 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.

Plot: Henry Graham lives the life of a playboy. When his lawyer tells him one day that his lifestyle has consumed all his funds, he needs an idea to avoid climbing down the social ladder. So he intends to marry a rich woman and - murder her.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Maybe.

It's funny because I read that May's (writer/director/star) final cut for the film came in at three hours.  That sounded way too long.  Hell, some people might think going past the 90 minute mark on a comedy is too much.  Now that I've seen it, I would prefer that it kept going.  I'd love to see the 3-hour cut which has a lot more subplot that was excised for the sake of keeping the time down.  Matthau and May are great together.  She's hilarious (they both are but she tickled the piss out of me...not literally.  That would've gotten messy).  There are some things that are left unsaid like the bet between Henry and his Uncle Harry that Henry wins.  It's safe to assume they kept each other's word.  It's not necessary to tie that up but I'm guessing the long cut had some extra funny related to that.  Henry doesn't spend much effort (by way of screen time) or get elaborate with his wanting to murder Henrietta.  That's only moderately utilized.  Normally you'd get a string of failed attempts the bring the funny so it was kind of nice that they didn't go that route.  The longer cut could've had more emphasis on that.  Beats me.  I'd even settle for reading the final script to find out how it played out.  The end just kind of happens which again, because it's unexpected and unusual for movies to end like this, is kind of nice.  The jokes are constant and there are lots of familiar, funny folks.  It's a delightful little film that's got me begging for the other 80 minutes the studio cut.  It's really remarkable how the 102 minute version I saw flies by.

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