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 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.
Bringing the play to the screen resulted in a years-long struggle with the production code office and the Catholic National Legion of Decency because of the play's inclusion of homosexuality, adultery and prostitution. At one point there was consideration that the film be produced by an independent production company outside of the studio system.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
The original stage production of Tea and Sympathy ends with the line, "When you speak of this in future years...and you will...be kind." Fearing censorship, MGM insisted upon an epilogue indicating that Deborah Kerr's character deeply regretted her "wrong" behavior of offering herself to young Tom.