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''A New Leaf'' is a 1971 BlackComedy written and directed by Creator/ElaineMay. Creator/WalterMatthau plays Henry Graham, a spoiled, pompous man who has spent all of his inherited wealth and has no way of earning a living for himself by working, so he decides to marry into wealth. Henry marries botany professor Henrietta (played by May), and plots to murder her.

During the film's troubled post-production, May was unable to turn in a final cut of the film; after she refused to show Creator/{{Paramount}} a rough cut of the film, which was supposedly three hours long, the film was taken out of May's hands. Robert Evans shortened the film to 102 minutes, deleting some of the film's darker elements, which included [[spoiler:a subplot in which Henry murders two men who are blackmailing Henrietta]]. The final released version presented the ending as [[spoiler:a display of redemption and affirmation of love, with Henry falling in love with Henrietta]], whereas the original ending [[spoiler:essentially depicted Henry's fate of remaining with Henrietta as an [[IronicHell Ironic]] SelfInflictedHell for his murders]]. Walter Matthau stated that he preferred the studio's cut of the film, rather than the longer, darker version.

Though well received by critics, it was only a modest commercial success.[[note]]It took in around $5 million, which actually made it one of the top 20 earning films of 1971, but that was only enough to barely turn a profit.[[/note]]

For more on Elaine May's battles with film studios, read about ''Film/{{Ishtar}}''.
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!!''A New Leaf'' provides examples of the following tropes:

* {{Adorkable}}: Elaine May takes it [[ExaggeratedTrope up to eleven]] as the socially inept Henrietta. She forgets to remove price tags from her clothes; has to be vacuumed after she eats; spills multiple cups of tea in one sitting; and accidentally "puts her head through the arm hole" of a Grecian nightgown.
* BigEater: Uncle Harry
* BlackComedy: Subjects such as attempted murder and suicide are played for laughs. [[spoiler:In the director's cut, successful murder is also played for laughs.]]
* CannotSpitItOut: Beckett goes through extreme contortions to avoid using the word "broke" to describe Henry's financial situation.
* CatchPhrase: "There's carbon on the valves" for Henry, "heavens!" for Henrietta.
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: Henrietta when it comes to anything not related to botany.
** Henry quite unexpectedly turns out to be good at being her [[CloudcuckoolandersMinder Minder]].
* DoubleMeaningTitle: Refers to both the new fern species Henrietta discovers and the changes in her and Henry's lives.
* DrinkOrder: Henry orders fine French wine (Château Mouton Rothschild 1955), and is horrified when Henrietta enthuses over the "Malaga Cooler" (Mogen David, lime juice and soda--"every year is good").
* FourthDateMarriage: Per his agreement with Uncle Harry, Henry has six weeks to get married and meets Henrietta with only a few days left, so he's forced to speed up the courtship.
* HyperCompetentSidekick: Harold the butler, for Henry.
* IronicHell / SelfInflictedHell: [[spoiler:Henry staying with Henrietta is this]] in the director's cut of the film.
* TheKlutz: Henrietta is a classic example.
* {{Meganekko}}: Henrietta
* SelfDeprecatingHumor: [[http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2013/01/nichols-and-may-reunion-exclusive This article]] suggests that Elaine May was poking fun at her own [[TheKlutz Klutz]] and {{Cloudcuckoolander}} tendencies with Henrietta.
* ShownTheirWork: May consulted with a botanist for the screenplay, so the botany references are all accurate. There's also a ShoutOut to [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_H._Wagner W.H. Wagner]].
* ThemeNaming: Henry, Henrietta, Harold, Harry, Professor Heinrich.
* UnfortunateNames: Dr. and Mrs. Daryl Hitler.
* UpperClassTwit: Henry, though he's forced to go to extreme measures to avoid becoming an ImpoverishedPatrician.
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