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Feature Friday: “A New Leaf” (1971)

Sadly, rumors persist that Elaine May wasn’t a good director. Sure, she wasn’t particularly skilled at finishing her films on time, or within their assigned budgets—but she delivered sheer genius every time she stepped behind the camera. Of course, it’s difficult to appreciate that now, since she’s been so unfairly served by video: only Mikey and Nicky (1976) is available on DVD. (It’s outrageous that The Heartbreak Kid, 1972, has never been released—especially after that god-awful remake—although one can sometimes find it streaming at Netflix.)

Hence, we must rely on YouTube. After the jump awaits May’s first feature, A New Leaf (1971), an wonderful, ultra-dark comedy starring both her and Walter Matthau. (Briefly: Matthau plays a spoiled brat who, having exhausted his inheritance, resolves to marry the wealthy May, then murder her.)


  • A. D. Jameson is the author of five books, most recently I FIND YOUR LACK OF FAITH DISTURBING: STAR WARS AND THE TRIUMPH OF GEEK CULTURE and CINEMAPS: AN ATLAS OF 35 GREAT MOVIES (with artist Andrew DeGraff). Last May, he received his Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the Program for Writers at UIC.

8 thoughts on “Feature Friday: “A New Leaf” (1971)

  1. Hi. Thanks for the Elaine may post. I’m elated that “A New Leaf” is finally coming out on DVD. One correction: May’s “The Heartbreak Kid” has been released twice on DVD. I had both editions, but they went by the wayside in my great purge of 2007. I do love that film.

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