Tea for Two (film)

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Tea for Two
original poster
Directed byDavid Butler
Produced byWilliam Jacobs
Written byHarry Clork
StarringDoris Day
Gordon MacRae
Gene Nelson
Music byVincent Youmans
CinematographyWilfred M. Cline
Edited byIrene Morra
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • September 2, 1950 (1950-09-02) (US)
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3,652,000[1]
$2.4 million (US rentals)[2]

Tea for Two is a 1950 American musical film directed by David Butler. The screenplay by Harry Clork and William Jacobs was inspired by the 1925 stage musical No, No, Nanette, although the plot was changed considerably from the original book by Otto Harbach and Frank Mandel; and the score by Harbach, Irving Caesar, and Vincent Youmans was augmented with songs by other composers.


Set as a flashback to in the Roaring Twenties, Uncle Max (S.Z. Sakall) tells the story of Nanette Carter (Doris Day), a Westchester socialite with show business aspirations. She offers to invest $25,000 in a Broadway show if her boyfriend, producer Larry Blair (Billy De Wolfe), casts her in the starring role. What she doesn't realize is Larry is two-timing her with ingenue Beatrice Darcy (Patrice Wymore), whom he envisions as the lead. When he accepts Nanette's offer, she imposes upon her wealthy, penny-pinching uncle, J. Maxwell Bloomhaus (S.Z. Sakall), to lend her the money.

He's willing to do so, on one condition - for the next 24 hours, his niece must answer "no" to every question she's asked. Comic complications ensue when the cast arrives at Nanette's estate to rehearse; and composer and pianist Jimmy Smith (Gordon MacRae), who has romantic designs on the girl, falls victim to the bet she's made with her uncle. Nanette wins, only to discover Uncle Max has lost all his money in the stock market crash. The only person still solvent is attorney William Early (Bill Goodwin), and Nanette's assistant Pauline Hastings (Eve Arden) sets out to charm him into backing the show.


Doris Day and Gordon MacRae as Nanette Carter and Jimmy Smith

Song list[edit]

  • "I Know That You Know" - sung by Doris Day and Gene Nelson
  • "Crazy Rhythm" - sung by Patrice Wymore and Gene Nelson
  • "I Only Have Eyes for You" - sung by Gordon MacRae
  • "Tea for Two" - sung by Doris Day and Gordon MacRae
  • "I Want to Be Happy" - sung by Doris Day and Gordon MacRae
  • "Do Do Do" by - sung by Doris Day and Gordon MacRae
  • "Oh Me! Oh My!" - sung by Doris Day and Gene Nelson
  • "Charleston" - danced to by Billy De Wolfe
  • "Tea for Two (Reprise)" - sung by Doris Day and Gene Nelson
  • "Here in My Arms" - sung by Doris Day
  • "No, No, Nanette" - sung by Doris Day and Gene Nelson
  • "Tea for Two (Finale)" - sung by Doris Day and Gordon MacRae


The film was the first in which Doris Day received top billing and marked the first time she danced on-screen.[3]

This was director Butler and leading lady Day's second collaboration, following It's a Great Feeling the previous year. The two went on to work together on Lullaby of Broadway, April in Paris, By the Light of the Silvery Moon, and Calamity Jane.

Ray Heindorf served as musical director for the film, and the musical sequences were choreographed by Gene Nelson, Eddie Prinz, and LeRoy Prinz. Art direction was by Douglas Bacon and the costume designer was Leah Rhodes.

Both Gordon MacRae and Gene Nelson appeared together in the film version of Oklahoma! (1955).

Box office[edit]

According to Warner Bros accounts the film earned $2,322,000 domestically and $1,330,000 foreign.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

In his review in The New York Times, Bosley Crowther called the film "pleasant entertainment," "a sprightly show," and "quite a genial production" and added, "Miss Day and Mr. MacRae . . . complement each other like peanut butter and jelly."[4]

Time wrote, "[It] sheds a Technicolor tear for the good old days of plus fours, prohibition and the stock-market crash. The story . . . employs nearly every musical-comedy cliché . . . as hot-weather entertainment, Tea for Two is at its best when concentrating on the old tunes of Vincent Youmans, George Gershwin and Roger Wolfe Kahn."[5]

Awards and honors[edit]

Gene Nelson won the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor for his work on Tea for Two.


  1. ^ a b c Warner Bros financial information in The William Shaefer Ledger. See Appendix 1, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, (1995) 15:sup1, 1-31 p 31 DOI: 10.1080/01439689508604551
  2. ^ 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1950', Variety, January 3, 1951
  3. ^ "Tea for Two". Turner Classic Movies.
  4. ^ "New York Times review".
  5. ^ "The New Pictures, Sep. 11, 1950". 11 September 1950 – via www.time.com.

External links[edit]