Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Watch us on Youtube Join the Archive Mailing List Read our Blog

The Heartbreak Kid  /  A New Leaf

A New Leaf
February 10, 2019 - 7:00 pm

The Heartbreak Kid  (1972)

Lenny Cantrow (Charles Grodin) is as socially ambitious, as he is emotionally shallow, so much so that he throws over his bride (Jeannie Berlin) during their honeymoon for another woman (Cybill Shepherd). Framed between the golden sun of Miami Beach and the frigid cold of Minnesota, Elaine May delivers a biting profile of modern romance, 1970s style: love during this decade will make you laugh while breaking your heart. Stephen Farber, writing for The New York Times was dazzled by May’s ability to cut through what he considered the pretense of matrimony and the way Hollywood packaged the fantasy. “The movies have defined ‘love’ for us—in impossibly exalted terms,” the critic bemoaned, “and ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ sets out to redefine it.” Jeannie Berlin, May’s 23-year-old daughter co-stars, and she and Eddie Albert were both nominated for Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor Oscars for their performances in the film.

Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive. 35mm, color, 104 min. Director: Elaine May. Screenwriter: Neil Simon. Cast: Charles Grodin, Cybill Shepherd, Jeannie Berlin.

A New Leaf  (1971)

In the late 1960s Elaine May was in the midst of a transition from a successful career performing live sketch comedy to film, initially as an actress and screenwriter, when she signed with Paramount Pictures in 1968 to write, direct, and costar in her directorial debut, A New Leaf. May frequently describes her turn at directing in circumstantial terms, claiming that Paramount would not give her the power to choose the director or actress, but they would hire her as the writer, director, co-star, “And all for the same money.” In A New Leaf, May plays Henrietta, an earnest but oblivious botanist-heiress, who is married to Henry (Walter Matthau), a bankrupted millionaire plotting the murder of his bride for her fortune. This dark comedy rings with social satire poking fun at the midlife crises of the idle rich by employing all the conventions of a classic screwball comedy with its pratfalls, zany antics, miscommunications, and themes of deceit.

35mm, color, 102 min. Director/Screenwriter: Elaine May. Cast: Walter Matthau, Elaine May, Jack Weston, George Rose.