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Tea and Sympathy (1956)

Rating:No Rating
Release Date:September 27, 1956
Running time:122 minutes
Cast:Deborah Kerr, John Kerr, Leif Erickson, Edward Andrews, Darryl Hickman
Director:Vincente Minnelli
Writer:Robert Anderson

Description: 1956's Tea and Sympathy is a diluted filmization of Robert Anderson's Broadway play. The original production was considered quite daring in its attitudes towards homosexuality (both actual and alleged) and marital infidelity; the film softpedals these elements, as much by adding to the text as by subtracting from it. John Kerr plays a sensitive college student who prefers the arts to sports; as such, he is ridiculed as a sissy by his classmates and hounded mercilessly by his macho-obsessed father Edward Andrews. Only student Darryl Hickman treats Kerr with any decency, perceiving that being different is not the same as being effeminate. Deborah Kerr, the wife of testosterone-driven housemaster Leif Erickson, likewise does her best to understand rather than condemn John for his strangeness. Desperate to prove his manhood, John is about to visit town trollop Norma Crane. Though nothing really happens, the girl cries rape! Both John's father and Deborah's husband adopt a thick-eared Boys will be boys attitude, which only exacerbates John's insecurities. Feeling pity for John and at the same time resenting her own husband's boorishness, Deborah offers her own body to the mixed-up boy. When you speak of this in future years...and you kind. With this classic closing line, the original stage production of Tea and Sympathy came to an end. Fearing censorship interference, MGM insisted upon a stupid epilogue, indicating that Deborah Kerr deeply regretted her wrong behavior.~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

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