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Tea and Sympathy

USA, English, 122 mins

  • Director: Vincente Minnelli
  • Writer: Robert Anderson
  • Producer: Pandro S. Berman

CGiii Comment

This is possibly one of the most disturbing films ever made...by a gay director fighting against McCarthy and the Hayes Code...

Ignore the 'framing' - both the first and last scenes are totally unnecessary.

The Hayes Office made them butcher Tea & Sympathy, just as badly as it had done with Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Thankfully, McCarthy died in 1957, aged 48.

During his reign, suspected homosexuality was a 'condition' to be quashed without mercy - watch this film with that in mind and it transports the whole story into a completely different dimension.


Trailer...

The(ir) Blurb...

Tom Lee is a sensitive boy of 17 whose lack of interest in the "manly" pursuits of sports, mountain climbing and girls labels him "sister-boy" at the college he is attending. Head master Bill Reynold's wife Laura sees Tom's suffering at the hands of his school mates (and her husband), and tries to help him find himself.


John Kerr and Deborah Kerr reprised their roles from Robert Anderson’s popular Broadway play Tea and Sympathy for Vincente Minnelli’s screen adaptation, a sensitive consideration of virulent homophobia at a boarding school, delineated here in a resplendent color palette by cinematographer John Alton. Tom Lee is different from the other boys, an introvert more inclined toward sewing, gardening, and crooning folk songs than tossing the pigskin, and his fellow classmates terrorize him as a result. He finds a confidante in faculty wife Laura Reynolds, however, and gradually a love flowers between them. Their relationship would suggest that the whispers about Tom are unfounded, but the narrative still raised the hackles of the Production Code office. “In retrospect,” Minnelli recalled, “it wasn’t a very shocking picture, but it might have set up a brouhaha at the time. Ostrich-wise, the censors refused to admit the problem of sexual identity was a common one.”

Cast & Characters

Deborah Kerr as Laura Reynolds;
John Kerr as Tom Robinson Lee;
Leif Erickson as Bill Reynolds;
Edward Andrews as Herb Lee;
Darryl Hickman as Al;
Norma Crane as Ellie Martin;
Dean Jones as Ollie, Tennis Partner;
Jacqueline deWit as Lilly Sears, Laura's friend;
Tom Laughlin as Ralph, 'Regular Guy';
Ralph Votrian as Steve, Ralph's side-kick;
Steven Terrell as Phil;
Kip King as Ted;
Jimmy Hayes as Henry;
Richard Tyler as Roger;
Don Burnett as Vic

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