“Tea and Sympathy” is one of the books on the reading list featured in “The Official Preppy Handbook.” Written by Robert Anderson for the stage, it was adapted for the screen in 1956 with Vincente Minnelli at the helm.
“Tea and Sympathy” is set at a boys’ prep school, where sensitive Tom Lee (played by John Kerr) is hazed by an army of khaki-clad hearties at the height of the buckle-in-back craze. Tom finds consolation in the company of one of the faculty wives, played by Deborah Kerr (no relation). The film is standard ’50s melodrama with some fine collegiate clothing; I say collegiate because while set at a prep school, the students all look like college seniors. The default outfit is buckle-back khakis, blue oxford, and a gray sweatshirt.
The film is not currently available on DVD (at least through Netflix). It had been uploaded to YouTube in installments but has since been removed, so you’ll have to do some detective work to track down a copy. — CC