Tea and Sympathy (1956)

Approved  |   |  Drama  |  5 November 1956 (France)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,567 users  
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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 »



(screenplay), (based on the play by)
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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Bill Reynolds
Herb Lee
Ellie Martin
Jacqueline deWit ...
Lilly Sears
Steven Terrell ...
Kip King ...
Jimmy Hayes ...
Richard Tyler ...
Don Burnett ...


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 <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Where does a woman's sympathy leave off -- and her indiscretion begin?




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Release Date:

5 November 1956 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Chá e Simpatia  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(35 mm optical prints)| (35 mm magnetic prints) (Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film was adapted from a Broadway play that originally starred Deborah Kerr, John Kerr and Leif Erickson, who recreate their stage roles in this film. Also in the Broadway cast in supporting roles were Alan Sues (who later appeared on TV's Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (1967)) and Dick York (the first actor who played Darrin on TV's Bewitched (1964) starring Elizabeth Montgomery). Joan Fontaine and Anthony Perkins also later appeared in the stage version of "Tea and Sympathy" as cast replacements during its long run. The stage production opened on Sept. 30, 1953 at the Ethel Barrymoore Theatre and ran for 712 performances. See more »


After Tom's roommate Al hangs up with his father, he goes downstairs to tell Ms. Reynolds he will be moving out. The shadow of the moving boom mic is clearly visible between Ms. Reynold's door and the pay phone in the hall. See more »


Laura Reynolds: Manliness is not all swagger and mountain climbing. It's also tenderness.
See more »


Version of Tee und etwas Sympathie (1967) See more »


The Joys of Love
Written by G.B. Martini and Richard Dyer-Bennett
Performed by John Kerr (dubbed by Gene Merlino)
Song based on "Plaisir d'Amour"
See more »

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User Reviews

Comparative Acting Styles
7 May 2000 | by (Cleveland, Ohio) – See all my reviews

Those who had the good fortune to see Deborah Kerr onstage in the Elia Kazan production of "Tea and Sympathy," will attest to her unforgetable performance. Kerr not only played it on Broadway but also toured with it, a treat for all attendees. Now nearly a half century later, her performance on film, which was very much influenced by her stage style, begins to show a little wear around the edges. It must be difficult to change one's approach after having played a role so successfully night after night. In this case, her inflections, accents, phraseology, pauses, gestures and the like are essentially theatre-based, designed to play to the whole house up to the balcony. In the intimacy of film, this becomes a bit much in the long run, and results in a much more broad, deliberate and stylized Kerr than in any of her other film work. Her character tends to emerge now more as a busy-body, snooper, peeping tom than was ever intended, and certainly it did not come across that way when the film was first released. A landmark film of sorts--for a major studio to tackle a sensitive subject in a major production--"Tea and Sympathy" benefits from a sincerely written script by Robert Anderson, solid direction by Vincent Minnelli and a secure supporting cast. Visually Deborah Kerr is beautiful, and is totally committed to both the play and her role. During her lengthy film career, Kerr certainly contributed a wealth of finely crafted performances.

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