We're looking for contributors

Deborah Kerr: Socially Dubious Desires

Deborah Kerr From Here to Eternity Burt Lancaster
Deborah Kerr movies: with Burt Lancaster in From Here to Eternity

Deborah Kerr Pt.2: Sexual Outlaw

As an unhappily married woman having a torrid affair with an army officer shortly before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Deborah Kerr is equally powerful in one of her best-remembered movies, From Here to Eternity (1953), stealing the romantic melodrama from her male co-stars. Fred Zinnemann's Academy Award-winning blockbuster marked one of the rare times when Kerr's physique played a part in her erotic persona, as she parades around Hawaii in Lana Turner-type shorts and frolics on the wet sand with brawny Burt Lancaster.

Less obvious is Kerr's headmaster's wife in Tea and Sympathy (1956), who, despite her discreet clothing and demeanor, ends up seducing one of her husband's teenage students. It's all for a good cause, of course – the "sensitive" adolescent thinks he may be gay – though it's hardly the type of behavior society would look kindly upon. Additionally, Kerr makes it clear that she isn't going to lie down with young and handsome John Kerr (no relation) merely out of charity.

But best (i.e., most dangerous) of all is her Christian governess in Jack Clayton's superb The Innocents (1961), seeing ghosts and sexual misconduct everywhere. When the governess receives a good-night kiss on the lips from a pre-teen boy – who she suspects is having a ghost-induced incestuous relationship with his younger sister – Kerr's look of shock, confusion, and hmmm... This feels good! is nothing short of masterful.

Most of Deborah Kerr's other classy ladies also displayed socially dubious – if not downright unacceptable – characteristics and/or found themselves in (sexually) delicate circumstances.

Deborah Kerr: A Series of Sexually Delicate Events

In Perfect Strangers (1945) Kerr feels that her marriage to Robert Donat will be too dull after the excitement of the war effort. In I See a Dark Stranger (1946), she is an Irish spy wooed and pursued by Trevor Howard. In If Winter Comes (1947), she considers reigniting an affair with the now-married Walter Pidgeon. In Edward, My Son (1949), she is Spencer Tracy's alcoholic, sexually and emotionally frustrated wife, and neglectful mother to their reckless son. In Young Bess (1953), she has a ménage à trois of sorts with Stewart Granger and Jean Simmons (as Queen Elizabeth I). And in An Affair to Remember (1957), she has a memorable romantic liaison with Cary Grant while committed to another man.

Jean Seberg Deborah Kerr David Niven Bonjour TristesseKerr becomes involved with aging playboy David Niven in Bonjour Tristesse (1958, right, with Jean Seberg), much to his daddy-fixated daughter's dismay. That same year, she can also be found in love with Niven's "sexually inappropriate" major in Separate Tables. As columnist Sheila Graham, she has an affair with married man (and alcoholic) Gregory Peck (as F. Scott Fitzgerald) in Beloved Infidel (1959).

There's more: Deborah Kerr is a governess who may have been a murderess with lesbian tendencies in The Chalk Garden (1964). She is the object of desire of defrocked priest Richard Burton in The Night of the Iguana (1964). She uses contraception pills (or so she thinks) in Prudence and the Pill (1968). And is suicidal Kirk Douglas' distant wife in The Arrangement (1969), in which her character has a discreet nude scene.

All that in addition to extra-marital liaisons with Van Johnson in The End of the Affair (1956) and Burt Lancaster in The Gypsy Moths (1969). In the latter film, Kerr appears bare-breasted in a sex scene. (A body double was supposedly used for the full nudity shot.)

["Deborah Kerr Pt.3: Socially Dubious Desires" continues on the next page. See link below.]

If you found Deborah Kerr: Socially Dubious Desires an informative post, please recommend it to your friends. See share buttons above and on the left.
And consider following Alt Film Guide on Facebook and/or joining the FB group All About Movies.
Deborah Kerr: Socially Dubious Desires © 2004-2015 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s). Text NOT to be reproduced without prior written consent.

Continue Reading: Deborah Kerr: The Darkness Inside

Previous Post: Deborah Kerr: Sexual Outlaw

Click on 'Load Comments' to leave a comment about Deborah Kerr: Socially Dubious Desires.

Important: Different views and opinions are perfectly fine, but courtesy and respect are imperative. Abusive, bigoted, baseless (spreading misinformation), and/or trollish/inflammatory comments will be blocked and offenders may be banned.


DESPERATE Review: Steve Brodie, Audrey Long Anthony Mann
Claudette Colbert: Author James Robert Parish Discusses the Paramount Star
'The Monolith Monsters: Notable Sci-Fi B Movie
Ingmar Bergman: PERSONA, CRIES AND WHISPERS Director Dead at 89
THE VOLGA BOATMAN - William Boyd - Cecil B. DeMille
SPARROWS - Mary Pickford
Best Films - 1939
Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Montgomery Clift: FROM HERE TO ETERNITY Screening
AVATAR: #87 at the All-Time Domestic Box Office?
Lynn Redgrave: Troubled Private Life
Josephine Baker, Abbas Kiarostami, THE BAND'S VISIT, THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS: Arabs & Muslims on T...
METROPOLIS Poster: $850,000
Eleanor Parker Today
Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall Movies: TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT, KEY LARGO
Joan Fontaine Today
Bette Davis Movies: Danger Ahead
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Shirley Temple Honored with Library of Congress Screenings
Gender Roles and Social Hypocrisy: THE GIRL IN TAILS