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Homosexuality was a taboo subject in 1956 Hollywood. So it was a challenge for screenwriter Robert Anderson to adapt his hit Broadway play about a sensitive prepschooler called "sister boy" by his peers, and the lovely housemaster's wife who realizes she must offer more than tea and sympathy to help the boy prove his manhood. The frankness may be muted but the power remains in this stellar film. Under Vincente Minnelli's direction, Deborah Kerr and John Kerr reprise their Broadway roles as older woman and younger man in poignant performances that reveal the compassion and the torment of being human. Their stage costar Leif Erickson joins them in counterpoint as the emotionally clenched housemaster.

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WAA31108 Tea and Sympathy DVD (1956/Deborah Kerr) $19.95