Tea And Sympathy (1956)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5

USA, 1956Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Screenplay by , based on his play.  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by . Production Design by , .  Costume Design by Helen Rose.  Film Editing by .  Podcast: Bad Gay Movies.

When else but in the fifties could homophobic claptrap like this film be made and still get passed off as quality drama?   plays a college student who gets flack from his fellow dormitory mates because he sews and doesn’t play sports. They basically do everything short of write ‘Queer’ on his bedpost, then go play stupid frat games including one where they tear each other’s pajamas off (one hopes director Vincente Minnelli got the joke). He finds solace in the arms of a coach’s wife (Deborah Kerr), whose own husband always prefers the company of his young men over spending time with her. The Kerrs (who, incidentally, are not related) are both excellent, but thanks to the censors’ forcing on a new ending that goes beyond the original play’s finish and has the characters repent their sins, the film ends up enforcing the sexual hypocrisy of its time instead of examining it.

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