Tea for Two
Comedy / Musical / Romance
Tea for Two
Comedy / Musical / Romance
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In this reworking of "No, No, Nanette," wealthy heiress Nanette Carter bets her uncle $25,000 that she can say "no" to everything for 48 hours. If she wins, she can invest the money in a Broadway show featuring songs written by her beau, and of course, in which she will star. Trouble is, she doesn't realize her uncle's been wiped out by the Stock Market crash. —Daniel Bubbeo.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
Jan 26, 2022 at 07:23 PM
grade Movie Reviews
Not bad, but not among Day and MacRea's best together
In the early 50s, Gordon MacRea and Doris Day made a couple cute period pictures together--"By the Light of the Silvery Moon" and "On Moonlight Bay". Both were essentially one long story about a nice family in the 1910s. There was singing but mostly the emphasis was on the comedy and character development. Just before they made these two wonderful films, they also made "Tea for Two" and, although pleasant, the film is clearly not in league with their later collaborations. Why? Because story and character development clearly are NOT that important--it's the music. Now for me, I like musicals but the story always must take precedence.This story is told through a long flashback when Uncle Max (Cuddles Sakall) tells a group of kids (which includes a very young Elinor Donahue) the story of how Nanette (Day) lost her fortune and then miraculously got it back all because of a Broadway musical and a bet that Nanette cannot go 48 without saying 'no' to every question posed to her.The plot, to put it lightly, is feather-light. It makes very little sense and seems to be there simply as a plot device to justify all the music by Day and MacRae. Some of that, by the way, is very nice. Oddly, however, the title song is, at least to me, one of the weakest tunes in the film. I did enjoy Sakall---as pretty much everyone enjoys him in films. Overall, enjoyable fluff but absolutely nothing more.
Mostly, a tea-licious tea-light
Not one of Doris Day's or Gordon MacRae's best, individually or together. 'On Moonlight Bay' and 'By the Light of the Silvery Moon' (both among the best films for both stars) are better collaborations of theirs.There is however a lot to like about 'Tea for Two', regardless of whether all those involved have done better in their careers. 'Tea for Two' could have been better certainly. One is aware that it has been well established that musicals are not really seen for their stories (whether it matters or not is wholly dependent on how well everything else is executed), but this story is so-so fluff at best and ridiculously daft at worst, the story being one of the most preposterous for any film musical made around this time.Some of 'Tea for Two' feels under-directed, though not as much as the still enjoyable 'Lullaby of Broadway' (with the same director involved), more in the non-song and dance numbers than in the musical scenes themselves. This is particularly in the SZ Sakall book-ending sequences, despite Sakall's best efforts those sequences seemed under-rehearsed and added very little. Virginia Gibson's character was underwritten and in a way incomplete, there was a sense that the film wanted to do more with her but couldn't.On the other hand, 'Tea for Two' looks great. Technicolor nearly always works wonderfully on film and particularly used to full advantage in musicals. It is a very lavishly produced film with a truly enchanting atmosphere. While not among the most memorable song scores, the songs are still incredibly pleasant and often very beautiful and puts one in a good mood, suiting the voices of Day and MacRae wonderfully. The title song, "I Only Have Eyes For You", "I Want to be Happy", "I Know that You Know" and Oh Me! Oh My!" are particularly good.They are aided by some great choreography as well. The big standout is Gene Nelson's jaw-dropping banister sequence, which has to be seen to be believed. The script is witty and full of warm-hearted charm, a lot of the best lines coming from Eve Arden.Day is luminous, looks very natural on screen and sings sublimely as always. MacRae would go on to better things but is charming, has a robust but beautiful baritone voice and his chemistry with Day is irresistible. Nelson once again proves himself to be quite the extraordinary dancer. Sakall plays the same character he usually does, but does it well so that doesn't matter so much, while Arden steals scenes with her terrific comic timing and witty lines. Even Billy DeWolfe, a take it or leave it performer whose shtick too often elsewhere doesn't hold up particularly well, is tolerable.In conclusion, not perfect but a tea-licious tea-light (pardon the very cheesy pun, really struggled to come up with a review summary) that pours well. 7/10 Bethany Cox
Doris and Gordon dust off an old chestnut
No No Nanette, each stage and screen version, of it is one of those items that's going to have an eternal life on stage. This version of it, retitled with the best known number in the show is one of the best tellings of the story of a girl who has to keep saying no to all questions. Tea for Two will be sung as long as people have voices. Doris Day and Gordon MacRae sing a nice version of it here, but the primo version of this song is done by Bing Crosby and Connee Boswell for Decca Records.The whole ensemble performs quite nicely and settles into the roles that we've come to know and love them. Eve Arden as the wisecracking best friend, S.Z.Sakall as the confused old world uncle, Billy DeWolfe as the fussbudget conman producer just settle comfortably into their parts.If on Jeopardy the answer is the most frequent leading man for Doris Day, phrase the question Gordon MacRae. They did four films together and sang beautifully in all of them. Of course in this one Vincent Youmans gave them a great score, but Warner Brothers had a song catalog themselves and Gordon MacRae sings I Only Have Eyes for You and does it well. In fact in a lot of Doris Day's films, the Brothers Warner dusted off some of their old song hits.Gene Nelson appeared in a few Warner Brothers musicals. A very talented dancer, he should have come along when musicals were at their height. He'd be better known today.You can't go wrong with Tea for Two, the song or the film.
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