A New Leaf

Synopsis: Henry Graham is a man with a problem: he has run through his entire inheritance, and is completely unequipped to provide for himself. His childhood guardian, Uncle Harry (a deliciously mean-spirited James Coco), refuses to give him a dime, and Henry, completely unwilling to exercise the only solution he sees--suicide-- devises a plan with the help of his imaginative butler: he can make money the old-fashioned way--he can marry it. With a temporary loan from Uncle Harry to tide him over, Henry has six weeks to find a bride, marry her, and repay the money, or else he must forfeit all his property to his uncle. With only days remaining, Henry meets clumsy, painfully shy heiress Henrietta Lowell (played by director Elaine May). She's the answer to his prayers--if only Henry can overcome the obstacles placed in his path by Uncle Harry, Henrietta's lawyer, and Henry's own reluctance to wed.
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Director(s): Elaine May
Production: Howard W. Koch Productions
  Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
102 min

Would you like to step out

and have a cigarette, Mr Graham?

No, thank you.

We'll call you as soon as we know.


I understand.

She'll be alright now, Mr Graham.

Thank you.

Did you ever have any trouble

with it before, Mr Graham?

Well, I have to take it in

2 or 3 times a week.

Which is somewhat inconvenient,

but the car is well worth it.

2 or 3 times a week?

How often do you drive it?

2 or 3 times a week.

I have to take it in every time I drive it.

And then it usually needs

a tune-up every few weeks.

So I actually don't get

to drive it very much.

Oh, you have a real

problem then, Mr Graham.

Yes. My own mechanic

has not been very helpful.

Is there anything you can recommend?

Well ... you don't live

out here on the island, so ...

I can't check it regularly enough

to get a real picture.

All I can advise is never drive her under

3,000 rpm in a forward gear. Ever.

And there's a lot of carbon on the valves.

Yes, there always is. So thank you

very much for the recommendation.

Usually needs a tune-up every few weeks.

I wonder what he does to her that bad.

Oh, Mr Graham. Your attorney, Mr Beckett,

has been trying to reach you.

He's been calling the

superintendent's office all week.

Well, if he calls again tell him

I no longer live with the superintendent.

Have this car taken to my garage.

- Broke down again, didn't it?

- I don't care to discuss it.

... and he told me there

was carbon on the valves ...

which was no news to me 'cause

there's always carbon on the valves.

My own mechanic picked up

the car yesterday ...

and returned this afternoon with the news

that there was carbon on the valves.

I asked him why the car

broke down so frequently ...

and he said it was probably because

carbon got on the valves.

Ha ha, I told you a Ferrari

was useless in the city.

Buy a Bentley and stop carrying on.

How dare you?

Mr Graham!

- Henry! Henry!

- What a day. That's a perfectly insane ...

- Oh, Mr Graham!

- Who is it? What is it?

- A Mr Beckett on the phone!

- Beckett?

Says he's your attorney!

Has an urgent message. Says he'll wait.

Tell him I'm out.

I don't have much chance to

take her out and open her up.

Half the time is spent taking off and

the other half is spent on landing.

And she needs a lot of upkeep.

Every time I bring her out

she has to have repairs.

What seems to be the trouble?

My mechanic says it's carbon on the valves.

Zero One Foxtrot.

This is Long Island tower.

We're holding an emergency telephone call

for Mr Henry Graham...

from his attorney, Mr Beckett.


Roger. Zero One Foxtrot...

I'll just get out here, thank you.

I'm not taking that call.

Oh, Jerry!

Mr Von Rensaeller?

Has Mr Graham come in yet?

Yes. He's in the lounge with Mr Beaumont.

Have I told you that my apple trees

have crown gall?


Well, then you can relax.

They don't anymore.

I sprayed and the crown gall is gone.

Hello, Dan. I was just telling Henry

that my apple trees had crown gall.

But I sprayed and the crown gall is gone.

Really? Oh, you must be very relieved.

Yes. Yes, I am.

Could I have a word with you, Henry?

We've had several calls from your bank ...

saying there have been insufficient funds.

Ah, those idiots.

I was prevailed upon as honorary secretary

to bring it to your attention ...

so you can stir it up at the bank.

Been going on for weeks.

I wonder if Beckett would go this far

to get me to call back?

Now, listen to me very carefully, please.

You see, when you have capital ...

you are able to derive ... No.

I will attend to the check

in a moment, Mr Graham.

I understand about the check.

I'm trying to explain something to you ...

that is terribly important.

When we spend more,

per month or per year ...

than we have in income,

you must then dip into the capital ...

eventually exhausting the capital

and of course, therefore, the income.

Do you see what I mean?

Mr Beckett. This check must be paid.

- Mr Graham ...

- And at once.

I'm trying to explain to you that

it is impossible to pay the check ...

because your expenses

have exceeded your income ...

to such a point that you have

exhausted your capital.

Now you have no capital, no income ...

therefore no funds for the check, you see?

Don't treat me as though

I were a child, Mr Beckett.

I am as aware of what it means

to have no capital as you are.

- Oh, good.

- Now, what about this check?

Well, are you entirely sure

that you really do understand ...

what I mean by ... capital, Mr Graham?

You see, you've exhausted the capital.

I can't cover the check ...

because the check is for $6,000

and you don't have $6,000.

In other words, you don't have $60.

Come to the point, Beckett.

The point, Mr Graham, is that

you don't have any money.

The capital and the income are exhausted

and you no longer have any money.

I wish there was some

other way I could say it.

What could I ...?

How could I put it? That money ...

You have no capital, you have no income ...

you have ... no, it's only money.

You have no money. There's no other

way to put it.

You mean I have no money?

Yes, that's what I mean.

You have no money.

And what of my stocks, my AT&T,

my General Motors?

Y-yes, I know ...

My Emeralda Peat?

Yes, yes, I know about Emeralda Peat.

Let me show you something.

Mr Graham, you see,

it was necessary for me to sell ...

Rate this script:3.7 / 3 votes

Elaine May

Elaine Iva May (née Berlin; born April 21, 1932) is an American screenwriter, film director, actress, and comedienne. She made her initial impact in the 1950s from her improvisational comedy routines with Mike Nichols, performing as Nichols and May. After her duo with Nichols ended, May subsequently developed a career as a director and screenwriter. Her screenwriting has been twice nominated for the Academy Award, for Heaven Can Wait (1978) and the Nichols-directed Primary Colors (1998). May is celebrated for the string of films she directed in the 1970s: her 1971 black comedy A New Leaf, in which she also starred; her 1972 dark romantic comedy The Heartbreak Kid; and her 1976 gritty drama Mikey and Nicky, starring John Cassavetes and Peter Falk. In 1996, she reunited with Nichols to write the screenplay for The Birdcage, directed by Nichols. After studying acting with theater coach Maria Ouspenskaya in Los Angeles, she moved to Chicago in 1955 and became a founding member of the Compass Players, an improvisational theater group. May began working alongside Nichols, who was also in the group, and together they began writing and performing their own comedy sketches, which were enormously popular. In 1957 they both quit the group to form their own stage act, Nichols and May, in New York. Jack Rollins, who produced most of Woody Allen's films, said their act was "so startling, so new, as fresh as could be. I was stunned by how really good they were."They performed nightly to mostly sold-out shows, in addition to making TV appearances and radio broadcasts. In their comedy act, they created satirical clichés and character types which made fun of the new intellectual, cultural, and social order that was just emerging at the time. In doing so, she was instrumental in removing the stereotype of women being unable to succeed at live comedy. Together, they became an inspiration to many younger comedians, including Lily Tomlin and Steve Martin. After four years, at the height of their fame, they decided to discontinue their act. May became a screenwriter and playwright, along with acting and directing. Their relatively brief time together as comedy stars led New York talk show host Dick Cavett to call their act "one of the comic meteors in the sky." Gerald Nachman noted that "Nichols and May are perhaps the most ardently missed of all the satirical comedians of their era." more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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