Watered-down version of a landmark Broadway play that dealt with alleged homosexuality and an older woman's desire to prove the machismo of the suspect young man.
John Kerr is a married writer with three children who returns to his exclusive prep school in New England for a reunion. In a flashback to his troubled years at the school, we see that he is inept at every sport except tennis (which is regarded as a sissy pastime), which sets him apart from the
other boys. He wears his hair long and spends his off-hours in romantic pastimes which the other students scorn. His roommate is Hickman, who is slightly embarrassed by Kerr's behavior but defends him to the others. Kerr's housemaster is big, hearty Erickson, a smiling boor who emphasizes
masculine games for his charges. Erickson is in league with Andrews, Kerr's father, who shares the housemaster's belief that the boy should have his hair cut and make an attempt to get into the mainstream of the school's activities. Kerr is shunned by almost everyone at the school except Hickman
and Erickson's wife, played by Deborah Kerr. She is a sensitive woman who realizes that this lad is in trouble. (He reminds her of her late first husband, a boy who volunteered for the Army during WWII in order to show everyone that he was fearless and left her widowed.) Gradually, her feelings
for the boy deepen into something more than maternal concern.
The two Kerrs and Erickson all effectively reprised the roles they had played in the stage version, which opened in September, 1953, and ran for more than 700 performances. Since Anderson himself wrote the screenplay (with the censors looking over his shoulder), any bowdlerization must be
attributed to him. Minnelli's direction is true to the material.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Watered-down version of a landmark Broadway play that dealt with alleged homosexuality and an older woman's desire to prove the machismo of the suspect young man. John Kerr is a married writer with three children who returns to his exclusive prep school i… (more)