Imbibing “Tea and Sympathy”, The 1956 Movie

Tom is a college boy who is not very virile, and because of the ridicule and suspicion he elicits, the college headmaster’s wife, Laura, is kind and helpful to him.  Laura herself could use some kindness, though, since she is married to a man who, though manly, resists her and is a repressed homosexual.  He is seemingly jealous of Tom—a heterosexual, by the way—who knows how to receive and appreciate Laura’s sympathetic care.

The agony associated with what the human heart demands and needs is what Tea and Sympathy (1956)—film by Vincent Minnelli, play and screenplay by Robert Anderson—is about.  Properly and knowingly, Minnelli put the play on the screen, and the top-notch cast from the Broadway production (Deborah Kerr, et al.) was used.  The result is a truly adult film, i.e. one for an adult sensibility, presented with appreciable power.  Kenneth Tynan rightly thought the play a good middlebrow work; no less so is the movie.

Tea and Sympathy (film)

Tea and Sympathy (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Wastrels In The Western: “Dirty Little Billy”

The 1972 film Dirty Little Billy tries to be honest about the Old West and about life.  Here, Billy the Kid (Michael J. Pollard) is mistreated by certain people, such as his tyrannical stepfather, before he ever becomes a violent ne’er-do-well.  Several wastrels, primarily a prostitute (Lee Purcell) and her beau (Richard Evans), accept him, however, and force him to engage in gunfire against scurvy adversaries.  No small amount of loss and debacle breaks out for the drifting boy.

The movie was made by two ad men, Stan Dragoti (who directed) and Charles Moss, and although it is plainly a fledgling’s achievement, it can be gripping and even fascinating.  The writing is sometimes a letdown, but very little of  the drama is predictable: the violent reactions, for example.  And there is a nice touch whereby an American flag waving over Billy and the dingy new town he walks through bespeaks something about the country’s future: that many ignorant young ne’er-do-wells will be a fixture in the U.S. population.

(Available on YouTube)

Dirty Little Billy

Dirty Little Billy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mr. Schaeffer Vs. Ms. Palin

I picked up a nonfiction book from 2011 called Sex, Mom & God by Frank Schaeffer, a liberal Christian or . . . something; I don’t know what he is.

Compelled to comment on Sarah Palin’s role as defender of traditional values such as marriage and the family, Schaeffer has written that “Palin was the least ‘submissive’ female imaginable [submissive to her husband, that is].  She misused her children as stage props and reduced her husband to the role of ‘helpmeet'; indeed, he became the perfect example of a good biblical wife.”  (This during the 2008 presidential campaign.)

I am prompted to wonder why a goodly number of my fellow Christians—or whoever—feel they have to write books.  We’d be better off if they didn’t.  That Sarah Palin has failed at submissiveness is probably something God alone should determine, is it not?  The idea that she “misused her children as stage props” (“used” and not misused is the proper word here) is simply absurd, and who would believe there was any such “reduction” of Tod Palin?

For a man to criticize Palin as late as 2011 was sadly ungallant.

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