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Tea and Sympathy (1956)

Approved | | Drama | 5 November 1956 (France)
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)
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 ...


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?




Approved | See all certifications »




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
See  »

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 »


A pair of china dogs are back to back in a master shot (overall wide view). But when the camera moves in for close-ups, the dogs are face-to-face. See more »


Tom Lee: I'm always falling in love with the wrong people.
Laura Reynolds: Who isn't?
See more »


Referenced in The Towering Inferno (1974) 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

22 June 2004 | by (xxxx) – See all my reviews

Deborah Kerr has always been one of the best actresses. Her beauty and wit have always gotten her pretty well rounded roles. "Tea and Sympathy" has done something else for her...It has made her a real human that we can all identify with and understand. She captured your attention with her every second on the screen. John Kerr, as Tom Lee, (the main character) is simply in the backdrop, carrying the story along as best he can. Within him we see a ridiculed boy whose over-femininity makes him the joke of his school. Even the teachers seem to gang up on him. Known as "Sister-boy Lee" he tries to 'become' a man, only to let himself down further. He is soon pitied and taken in by Laura Reynolds, the school master's wife, who is told to "Stay out" because she's not really "involved". The truth is she is deeply involved...Her husband is the main reason for this kid's pain. I don't want to spoil the ending for you so I will say this...Vincente Minnelli is a brilliant director. Deborah Kerr is a wonderful actress who's inner beauty matches her physical beauty. John Kerr really shines. This movie is worth seeing. It does skirt the topic of homophobia but it tells the story that we (when we were teens) can all tell, trying to accept who we are and not trying to be what we aren't.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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The ending evenstar9
This Movie did not work for me!! SusanJL
Was 'Sister Boy' really a term used at the time? gurgitoy2
Where Is The DVD mpofarrell
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