A New Leaf

dir. Elaine May

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In her first film as writer and director, comedy legend Elaine May stars as a shy, clumsy botany professor whose inherited wealth makes her the target of a bankrupt playboy (Walter Matthau) who plans to marry and then murder her.

In her first film as writer and director, comedy legend Elaine May stars as a shy, clumsy botany professor whose inherited wealth makes her the target of a bankrupt playboy (Walter Matthau) who plans to marry and then murder her. In the first of her many battles with the Hollywood studios, May took ten months to edit the film down to 180 minutes, which was recut by Paramount head Robert Evans to a 102-minute version that turned May's pitch-black comedy into a funny and sweet affirmation of love and redemption; nevertheless, May's acidulous vision still comes powerfully (and hilariously) across.

Introduction by Melinda Barlow, Associate Professor of Film Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder.