Tea for Two from 1950 features one of my all time favorite performers, Doris Day, as Nanette Carter. She’s well to do and very strong and confident. In fact, she spends a bit too freely, considering this is after the Stock Market Crash. Still, she gets roped into backing a play and then ends up appearing in it, singing the songwriter’s songs. Gordon MacRae is the composer, Jimmy Smith. Early on, they sing a delightful rendition of the song for which the film is named, Tea for Two.
The catch to the above is that in order to finance the production, Nanette has promised her uncle who controls her money that she will say “no” to everything for 48 hours without explaining. This, naturally, leads to a lot of misunderstandings along the way, including messing up a budding romance.
Gene Nelson and Eve Arden both have supporting roles in the movie, but they feel very underused to me. Arden just snips her lines most of the way through the picture, in fact. Nelson does get a bit more involved later, and I do love his song and dance routine, but I still believe he could have contributed more to the overall plot.
Having a bigger role is Billy De Wolfe, who plays Larry Blair, the person who desperately wants Nanette’s money. He is colorful and as good as ever in this part. As Nanette’s Uncle Max, S.Z. Sakall is delightful, but then he normally is. He plays this same type of role in numerous pictures. He excels at this somewhat fumbled type of character. Among the uncredited in Tea for Two is a very young Elinor Donahue. She is in the movie early on and does have dialog.
I did not realize until watching this on DVD recently that the movie was based on the stage play, “No, No Nanette.” I cannot believe I was not aware of that, but I wasn’t.
The songs are fun and a delight to listen to. Another of the ones I enjoy a lot besides Tea for Two is I Want to Be Happy. This is what the movie is about — being happy, and for me, it works.