Playwright William Inge never liked Shirley Booth, or her brilliant performance as Lola in the Broadway and original film versions of "Sheba" -- he wanted an actress that would be believable as a faded beauty. Inge did not live to see Woodward's version of Lola, but he probably would have adored it -- he knew her as a young beauty when she understudied Janice Rule in his "Picnic" on Broadway. But the curse on Lola's husband "Doc" endures, and Olivier is as miscast as Lancaster was in the '52 film. It's one of his hammiest performances. A very young Carrie Fisher is natural and luminous as Marie, and Woodward is wonderful as always, but there's no escaping the long shadow of Booth's heartbreaking, legendary performance, which remains the heart and soul of "Sheba." Inge was wrong.
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