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 ... See full summary »
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. Written by
Ron Kerrigan <email@example.com>
"Years from now when you talk about this--and you will--be kind..."
Robert Anderson adapted his own play for the screen about a sensitive young man ostracized at his all-male school for pursuing interests not typically associated with red-blooded males circa 1950. Seems he enjoys cooking and sewing, singing folk music, and chatting with the faculty wives--all of which have alienated him from his classmates (as well as his own father!), though not the lonesome wife of the head schoolmaster, who takes a special and heartfelt interest in the lad. As played by John Kerr (reprising his stage performance), the central character is curiously presented without even the slightest hint of affectation; yes, he shows no resistance to playing a female role in the class play (requiring him to wear a flouncy dress), yet the filmmakers want us to see something in this boy which isn't standard, and John Kerr is incredibly, blandly standard (even his walk, which is mocked, is utterly ordinary). Ironically, though the film has a dated viewpoint of masculinity--the opposite of which is practically labeled 'abnormal'--the picture has a large following among gays. Though it is a serious-minded movie, one is apt to hoot in derision at the script's loftier passages. Thankfully, Deborah Kerr also reprises her stage role as Mrs. Reynolds, and she pulls out whatever honesty there is in the dialogue and actually gives it some depth and worth. The theme here is certainly an unusual one for 1956 Hollywood--and even stranger for having Vincente Minnelli direct it, he the subject of much gossip himself--but the production is plush and the story is engrossing despite the soapy undermining. **1/2 from ****
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