Come Back, Little Sheba (1952) Poster

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Brilliant, sad and very well written.
planktonrules19 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
"Come Back, Little Sheba" is a picture that will sneak up on you as you watch it. At first, it seems a bit mundane---perhaps even a bit dull. And, you'll most likely become annoyed with the wife. However, as the film slowly unfolds you suddenly see that it is brilliant--brilliantly written as well as acted.

Shirley Booth received an Oscar for her performance of a dowdy and not particularly interesting or effective housewife. In essence, she is a sloppy and particularly unattractive woman. The handsome Burt Lancaster (wearing makeup and playing a much older man than he really was) is married to this woman--and down deep this loveless marriage to a sad and rather annoying woman is eating him alive. He maintains a placid demeanor--stuffing his anger and resentment down deep as he consumes antacids and complains of stomachaches. He also is a recovering alcoholic who is on edge--and appears setting himself up to drink again. It's a living hell for him, as he is silently bitter about being forced to marry Booth decades before when she became pregnant. The fact that she subsequently lost the baby and is unable to have more doesn't make things any better. Booth's way to cope with this sad marriage is through her dog, Sheba, but since the dog has disappeared, the loneliness of their marriage has become more apparent. It also becomes more apparent when they take in a young boarder (Terry Moore), as she's young, vivacious and has an active and happy love life. All these factors (and more) work together to create a very sad and realistic portrait.

It's obvious that the writers knew a lot about psychology and alcoholism--and this is why I love this film. Not only are the characters wonderfully real, but they are realized correctly--and they definitely get the little details right. For example, it's one of the best films when it comes to alcoholism. Why this man drinks is fascinating--it's not just because he likes the booze, but it's to temporarily escape this awful life--something rarely talked about in films. It's also very interesting how all his hidden rage is released when he drinks--a year of pent-up anger comes exploding from him. Also, the way his sobriety and AA are shown is exceptional--it's a lot more realistic than the more famous (and overrated) "Lost Weekend" (which has a ridiculously upbeat ending). They show an open meeting, talk about the 12 Steps, the Serenity Prayer and the job of AA sponsors.

What's more fascinating for me are the psychological elements--and the writers clearly were putting in a lot of analytic psychology and symbolism. The juxtaposition of Moore's happy life to theirs is symbolic of the emptiness of the couple. It's also creepy and symbolic how this sick couple refer to each other as 'Baby' and 'Daddy'--especially since they cannot have kids. But what really made me excited was listening to Booth's dream at the end of the film--it was chocked full of Freudian symbolism and showed they knew a lot about the psyche. Booth's dream was symbolic of so much--you could listen to it and interpret the meanings at great, great length.

Aside from the exceptional writing, there are some other things to note. Moore is very sexual throughout the film--she is not some stereotypically nice college student but seethes with sexual desires--something very rare in 1950s films and not really seen much until the late 1960s. This helps the story a lot since Booth and Lancaster completely lack this element in their marriage. Also, I loved the acting of Booth and Lancaster. She is able to express so much with her face and body language--you really have to see it. Also, while Lancaster's performance is much more subdued, I loved how he walked through the house when he was intoxicated--slightly touching things to steady himself as he slowly makes his way though the house. It was a little thing--but the director did a fine job as did the actors as lots of little things were used to give the film a rich texture.

So is the film worth seeing? Of course--it is magnificent. But be forewarned that it isn't exactly fun viewing. Often you'll find yourself cringing and by the end there is a pervasive sense of sadness and emptiness that many will find disturbing. Plus I could imagine that the film could kick up a lot of baggage in some viewers.
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Sheba Like Our Youth Ain't Coming Back
bkoganbing30 July 2007
For those of you who only know Shirley Booth from the television series Hazel, I would strongly recommend you look at the list of her Broadway credits which date all the way back to the twenties. She appeared in so many Broadway plays that later went on screen without her recreating the role. For example she created parts in The Philadelphia Story, Goodbye My Fancy, and Desk Set that were later played by Ruth Hussey, Joan Crawford and Katharine Hepburn respectively.

Booth joined that select group of players who won both Tony and Oscars for playing the same role in Come Back, Little Sheba. The play by William Inge ran for 190 performances during the 1950 season and co-starred Sidney Blackmer with Booth. Like the Lunts when they filmed The Guardsman, we get to see but one of her performances preserved on film, maybe her best role.

William Inge's play concerns two very ordinary people, Doc and Marie Delaney, a seemingly quiet middle aged couple. But like George and Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, there's a lot of skeletons in the Delaney closet. Doc was forced to marry Marie when she became pregnant and then the baby was lost anyway. Both made the best of the situation. Doc, unfortunately turned to drink. But when we meet him he's been sober for a year and involved with Alcoholics Anonymous.

Marie is this dowdy middle aged housewife who's forever tuned into the radio and constantly reminiscing of her youth. Doc is just the opposite, he doesn't like to talk at all about the past. But he gets a bit of nostalgia going when pretty and stacked Terry Moore boards with the Delaneys.

Her presence in the house sets of a chain of events that knocks Doc off the wagon. We then see what Marie's been living with before AA.

Another reviewer remarked at how well Shirley Booth caught the attitudes and mannerisms of the wife of an alcoholic and where had she done her research for the part. The answer is she lived it. Her first husband, Ed Gardner from radio's Duffy's Tavern, was a notorious alcoholic, Booth got all the material she ever would need to create Marie Delaney with him.

For movie box office Burt Lancaster played Doc Delaney and he got rave notices himself for the part. Doc was such a change from the aggressively masculine heroes like Lancaster played in The Crimson Pirate or The Flame and the Arrow. I wouldn't doubt that his performance may have led to Lancaster being cast in From Here to Eternity and winning his first Oscar nomination. In a sense Lancaster plays two roles because the sober Doc is a totally different individual from the raging drunk when he gives in to temptation.

The title comes from their dog Sheba who up and ran away one day. Marie calls for him constantly, thinks she sees him at times. But Sheba's a metaphor for their youth which is never to return.

Cinema acting don't get much better than Burt Lancaster and Shirley Booth in Come Back, Little Sheba.
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My heart shattered into a thousand pieces
Boyo-211 November 1999
Shirley Booth is so convincing in this movie that it makes me think she was wasted in cinema because she was never given an opportunity to display her magnificent talent. She is completely heartbreaking in the movie and deservedly won the Oscar, over such heavyweights as Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Burt Lancaster is great also but its Shirley's show all the way and she does not disappoint.
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Timeless, well-acted classic
HotToastyRag27 May 2018
Come Back, Little Sheba is one of the finest old movies ever made. It's not an epic or resplendent in Technicolor, but it's such a fantastic representative of a 1950s classic in every element-and it's stood the test of time amazingly well.

Based on William Inge's Broadway play, Ketti Frings adapted the script for the screen, and although it's clear it used to be a play, the lines aren't wooden, artificial, or boring like many play adaptations are. The acting, like the script, is clearly stylized and old-fashioned, but at the same time it's realistic and heartbreaking to the most modern audiences. Shirley Booth played the lead on Broadway, won a Tony, then starred in the film and won an Oscar-not bad for her film debut! If you don't know who she is, or you only associate her with the tv series Hazel, you need to watch Come Back, Little Sheba so you can appreciate her true talent. Every time I see her in a movie, she brings tears to my eyes. She's instantly sympathetic, and you can see all the pain and hope in her eyes during every moment.

Burt Lancaster, only thirty-eight years old at the time, plays Shirley's husband. Hollywood aged him up for the role rather than cast an older actor-and there were several vying for the part-and it's easy to see why they made that choice. This is one of his best performances, rivaled only by Birdman of Alcatraz, and the Academy snubbed him terribly during the awards season. When you watch this tortured, heartbreaking performance, you'll feel sick that he wasn't even nominated for an Oscar that year.

Now for the plot: Shirley and Burt play an older, unhappy, married couple. Burt is recently sober, and Shirley is recently distraught that their beloved dog Sheba has run away. While they struggle through, a young college girl rents a room in their house, attracting different attentions from each. There's much more to the story, but I'd rather describe the skeleton and let the rest unfold for you as the film plays. It's a very emotional experience, and I can't recommend this classic highly enough.
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Booth's performance is one of the best ever to win an Oscar
MOscarbradley2 April 2017
Shirley Booth was 54 when she won the Academy Award as Best Actress for her performance as Lola in the screen version of William Inge's "Come Back, Little Sheba". It was also her screen debut in a role that had previously won her a Tony on the stage and, quite frankly, she was magnificent. It launched her on a short-lived movie career and a slightly longer career on television. It's a fine film, well directed by Daniel Mann and adapted by Ketti Frings and it has three other good performances from Burt Lancaster as the alcoholic Doc, Terry Moore as the young lodger who, unwittingly, is the cause of Doc's hitting the bottle again and Richard Jaeckel as the athletic stud Moore is dallying with. Admittedly Lancaster, who at 39 was 15 years younger than Booth, isn't really right for his role, (he was too young for starters), but he handles it very effectively. Nevertheless, this is Booth's show. If she had never done anything else on screen she would still have earned her place in the pantheon of great performances.
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Forget "Hazel" - And Bring Tissues
Harold_Robbins21 August 2004
Shirley Booth was a remarkably versatile actress - she did comedies, musicals, and dramas - and won the adoration of critics and audiences in all. But as with Agnes Moorehead and Eve Arden, her success in a TV comedy, "Hazel" tended to over-shadow her work on stage or film. A well-liked comedic actress on Broadway since the 1930s, she reinvented herself as a dramatic actress in 1949 with COME BACK, LITTLE SHEBA, winning every award in sight. Although the film version was offered to the likes of Bette Davis (who turned it down because she felt she couldn't bring to the role the "gorgeous vagueness" Booth had), Hal Wallis wisely went with Booth to recreate her stage role, casting Burt Lancaster for box-office appeal.

Booth's performance as Lola is astonishing, filled with nervous energy and anxiety, living on the edge - ask anyone who's ever lived with an alcoholic - every gesture, every emotion she plays, is honest and accurate. When I finally saw this film in the early 1990s, I was floored by Booth - where in heck had she done her research? Help for families of alcoholics (the Al-Anon Family Groups) was still several years off when the stage version was done - the resources available to Booth would have been "open" AA meetings and perhaps talking with family members. (Incidentally, the director, Daniel Mann, wasn't finished with AA - a more realistic AA meeting figured in his 1956 I'LL CRY TOMORROW, in which he directed Susan Hayward to an Oscar nomination - ironically, she lost out to Anna Magnani's Mann-directed performance in THE ROSE TATTOO!)

Booth was still alive at the time I first saw this film (around 1991-92), and I knew after watching that, unfortunately, her great success as TV's "Hazel" over-shadowed SHEBA, and that when she died, the obit's would begin, "Shirley Booth, TV's HAZEL, is Dead..." and I was right. Agnes Moorehead had a similar fate - the generation which grew up on "Bewitched" was clueless that Moorehead was one of the finest, most versatile and respected actresses around and, like Booth, every bit the equal of the other leading ladies (whom she'd usually supported). I remember attending a screening for the 50th anniversary of CITIZEN KANE and hearing gasps of astonishment as the cast's names appeared "That was AGNES MOOREHEAD!!!!"

Yes, indeed. And THAT was Shirley Booth, breaking our hearts in COME BACK, LITTLE SHEBA. Forget "Hazel," and bring tissues.
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A fascinatingly well done tale of alcoholism.
KennethEagleSpirit31 January 2007
Burt Lancaster, Shirley Booth, and Terry Moore shine in this very fine flick. In watching it, if you know anything at all about denial, projection, alcoholism, and Alcholics Anonymous, this is a wonderful telling of the psychological and spiritual truths behind the disease. Certain attitudes and comments, projected so well by both Booth and Lancaster, along with the innocent bystander Moore, are dead on. The activities of the men who come to deal with Lancaster while he is in his cups are straight out of the "Big Book". And the resultant coming to grips with the thing, a turn around in out look, are perfect examples of "progress, not perfection" and "having had a spiritual awakening". For the plot, the great acting ability, the talent both in front of and behind the camera, and, for me anyway, the psychology of the thing, it just doesn't get much better than this.
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Heartbreaking, heartfelt film with a world-class star turn
ecjones195131 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Not everyone can make four films in an entire movie career and win an Oscar for one of them. Shirley Booth was already a 3-time Tony-winning actress when she repeated her stage success in the film "Come Back, Little Sheba," and she would go on to win two Emmy Awards as the title character in the long-running TV series, "Hazel." Shirley Booth was born to play Lola Delaney, and deserved every accolade that came her way for her performance.

The secret to playing Lola Delaney is something that we don't see enough of in contemporary American movies, and that is great acting, pure and simple. Shirley Booth simply becomes Lola. She isn't playing a real-life character, so there are no models by which to judge her skill at mimicry. She isn't playing a monster, or a woman triumphing over crippling adversity; she isn't a tragic figure or a powerful woman.

The Lola Delaneys of this world are so ordinary they practically fade into the wallpaper. They live their lives through and for other people. Lola is composed of bits of all such women. She is lonely in a childless marriage, desperate in her desire to please, overly sentimental, naive, guilt-ridden and utterly lacking in self-esteem. She and her husband, Doc (Burt Lancaster) have a marriage that consists mostly of tolerance of each other's foibles and occasional forced gaiety.

William Inge, the last century's most unjustly forgotten playwright, probably knew a great many Lolas growing up in Kansas. But many of Inge's female characters are stronger than they realize, including Lola. Madge in "Picnic" and Cherie in "Bus Stop" also come to mind. Many of them know what they want from life and have a clearer, more pragmatic idea of how to get it than the men around them.

Most of Inge's plays are deceptively simple not only in the characters they depict, but in setting and structure as well. "Little Sheba" derives a lot of its power from its author's constraints, and it's a bit more true to its source than some other movies adapted from his plays. As with most Inge plays, this one "starts in the middle", and as the story plays out we see how the characters got to where they are, and whether they will stick with what they've got or make a break for an unknown future.

In "Come Back, Little Sheba," we meet Lola and Doc at a time when their marriage has become purely an exercise. It was the product of teenage lust, lived in shame and out of a sense of convention its first year. Gradually the couple lapsed into codependency --- not a word that Lola and Doc would have known- -- but appropriate to describe their existence as she made excuses for his alcoholism. He has been sober for a year, but he's on a slippery rope.

And now, Lola and Doc are in a holding pattern, that is, until they take in a college student, Marie (Terry Moore), as a boarder. Her mere presence, her youth and vitality -- -not to mention the overt sexuality that she represents -- -forces the Delaney house into crisis. It is likely that Marie leaves the Delaney home under the same cloud the Delaneys came into it, but her brief stay and sudden departure have grave lessons to teach both Lola and Doc.

Lola learns to stop dwelling in the past and yearning to undo past mistakes. Marie's smoldering affect- (although to be fair she really does not try to lead Doc on) -sends him reaching for the bottle again. In the end, Marie may never know that she has forced the Delaneys to re-examine their marriage. The final scene ends on an optimistic note, brighter than anything Lola has ever said in an effort to be a lively conversationalist or to feign happiness. It rings quite true, just as does everything in Shirley Booth's brilliant performance.
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Best film about the problem of Alcoholism.
yenlo21 May 1999
Days of Wine and Roses and The Lost Weekend deal with the problem of those afflicted with Alcoholism. Both are fine films. This movie is better than those two and that's only part of the story in this picture. Shirley Booth gives a most certainly well deserved Academy Award winning performance as the wife of a recovering alcoholic husband. Burt Lancaster in a role he is not often remembered for is the husband. A once proud and respected person who falls by the wayside due to his drinking has picked himself up and is determined to start over again even though various demons still linger inside him. I first saw this motion picture on New Years eve back in the late 60's on NBC's Saturday Night at the Movies. During the week preceding the showing NBC advertised it with the clip of Lancaster going after Booth with a kitchen knife. My older sibling and I not really old enough to know about such things joked about the scene. When we watched the movie and it came to that part we were no longer joking. I didn't see it for many years until it aired on AMC. The film is as powerful today in its story and it's acting performances as when I first saw it and I'm certain when it was first released in 52. A must see.
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See this
david-5691 November 2004
I see this movie again and again as it comes on periodically.

If you want to see a great story, greater writing, and greater acting from Shirley Booth, see this.

Shirley Booth won a Tony and an Academy Award for her role. They should have given her 5, each. One of the finest performances ever.


Make that 10, each.

To see her performance is to understand where the benchmark of acting starts.

See this. One of the finer exposures on alcoholism within family.
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Face reality -- it's the only truth
mermatt29 June 2001
This is an interesting study about the trials of people dealing with disappointment and alcoholism. Lost dreams have been Doc's excuse for turning to the bottle, and a lost little dog (Sheba) symbolizes his wife's search for herself.

The film based on the play is an early study of the pain of addiction. As Doc tells his wife, "Dreams are strange." There is redemption in the fact that Doc asks for forgiveness as his wife regains her sense of dignity.

Booth gives a very believable performance, and Lancaster is excellent playing a man far older than he was at the time. This is a touching, though simplistic, look at the dark side of human nature.
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Shirley Booth's Tour de Force!
JLRMovieReviews17 September 2015
Shirley Booth (of "Hazel" fame) and Burt Lancaster are married, but don't really communicate in "Come Back, Little Sheba." The film opens on Shirley who gets out of bed and moves about with no motivation to do anything, to dress, to clean. She has a likable disposition, but she doesn't have much drive. Her husband is a chiropractor, who never finished his medical schooling as a doctor, for reasons that are shown to us slowly throughout the film. Little Sheba is a dog they had that ran away and that Shirley has been praying will return. Burt Lancaster is excellent as the husband who just goes through the motions day by day without feeling. Terry Moore is a boarder who they take in for more income, of whom Burt takes a liking to. And, also, he is an alcoholic who has been sober for years and whose world will soon shatter. But this is Shirley Booth's picture, as she breaks your heart. She is both pitiful yet strong in conjuring up the depths of depression. Shirley deservedly won an Oscar for this film. What secrets are behind this façade? Will she come out of her delusions? This film is definitely worth your time. Please look for "Come Back, Little Sheba." It's an experience you won't forget.
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sexual frustration in an "ideal" household
lee_eisenberg10 July 2018
Shirley Booth had already won a Tony for William Inge's focus on a married couple's problems when she made her film debut with the movie version (for which she won an Academy Award). "Come Back, Little Sheba" is a hard-hitting look at the couple's sexual frustration (apparently a common theme in Inge's works) and inability to be what was supposed to be the "proper" husband and wife. Although it has the feel of a play, there are some intense scenes. Along with Booth, Burt Lancaster turns in an outstanding performance, as expected.

All in all, a fine piece of work. It's a shame that Shirley Booth only starred in a few movies after this.
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Shirley Booth gives Oscar-Performance (got Kleenex?)
mdm-1121 May 2005
William Inge's play transfers nicely to the big screen, with perfectly cast leads Shirley Booth and Burt Lancaster.

A middle aged, childless couple struggles with the husband's periodic alcoholic "episodes". When they rent out a room in their house to a young college girl, the audience learns a lot about the couple just by observing their reactions to "the young people". "Doc" Delaney exhibits fatherly, protective feelings toward the young woman, expressing disgust when she brings a young man to her room. A regular at AA meetings, he eventually "gets sick" again. Determined never to give up, his devoted wife Lola stands by her man. The ending leaves us hopeful that all will turn out well.

There are many beautiful moments in this film, assuring a lover of tearjerkers a full pay-off! Shirley Booth deserved her 1953 Oscar for her portrayal of Lola Delaney. Oh, and don't look for little Sheba, she won't be back.
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Classic Portrait of an Enabler
evanston_dad9 December 2008
Daniel Mann directed this emotionally bruising screen adaptation of the William Inge play.

Shirley Booth recreated her stage performance opposite Burt Lancaster, as a dowdy housewife stuck in the past, who's so devoted to taking care of every single need of her alcoholic husband that she's forgotten she has a life of her own to live. A young college student (Terry Moore) the couple takes in as a boarder shakes up their domestic routine when she exposes them to a world of youth and vitality the two had forgotten existed.

Having had direct experience with an alcoholic and the family dynamic swirling around him, I can say that this film perfectly captures the attitudes and behavior of a classic enabler. The fact that Booth's doting wife goes on and on about how proud she is that her husband has remained sober for a year (even going as far as attending an AA meeting with him), and then keeping a bottle of alcohol in the kitchen cupboard and serving cocktails at a dinner party where her husband was an intended guest, struck me as painfully accurate.

The movie is quite surprisingly frank about some of the more unsavory "behind-closed-doors" topics that film as an art form wasn't yet comfortable in exploring as of 1952. In addition to the exploration of alcoholism and its abusive effects on both the user and those around him, the film delves into sex and the long-term -- and sometimes unexpectedly profound -- role it can play in shaping people's (and especially women's) lives.

Grade: A
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Miscast Lancaster gives a dazzling performance...Booth shines...
Doylenf25 January 2004
All of the plaudits for SHIRLEY BOOTH are certainly well deserved but let's not overlook BURT LANCASTER's contribution to this great film. He proves once and for all that he is an actor of considerable stature and gives an extremely strong and thoughtful performance despite being so obviously miscast physically.

The role of the husband was played on Broadway by Sidney Blackmer, more suited physically to the character of "Doc". But the producers needed a film star "name" for the screen version to protect their interest and Lancaster, despite his strikingly handsome physical presence, does a commendable job as the loser who drowns his sorrows in alcohol and shows uncontrollable anger toward his dowdy housewife. Booth is superb in a role she was born to play. Too bad she never had many other opportunities to strut her stuff as she does here. She's poignant and touching all the way through, realistic in her depiction of a woman who still dreams of her lost past.

Supporting players are all superb. Definitely a film worth catching, from one of William Inge's most heartfelt plays, looking mercilessly at the human condition.
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Fantastic performance by Shirley Booth
nnnn4508919124 October 2006
Shirley Booth's performance in this movie is one of the best I've seen.From the moment she appears as Lola Delaney you know almost everything you need to know about her character.It's quite rare that I get moved to tears by a performance,but Shirley Booth managed that feat. She conveys all the emotions of a simple woman who's life didn't turn out the way she dreamed and her realization that the springtime of her life has long gone.Burt Lancaster might have been a bit young for the part of Doc Delaney,but I think he's really good and powerful and frightening in the drunk-scene.Terry Moore was a charming acquaintance for me.Her performance was quite assured and natural. Although this movie is more like a filmed play, I enjoyed it a lot.
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The missing puppy
jotix10031 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
As the story begins, Marie, a young college student comes to answer an advertisement for a place to live at Lola Delaney's home. The room for rent is ample, but Marie set her eyes on the sewing room Lola uses, off the living area. The girl thinks it would be perfect because of the light. She intends to do some work in there. Marie wants to see other possibilities.

Doc Delaney, a recovering alcoholic, is reluctant at his wife's plan, when his wife Lola tells him about it. They certainly do not need to resort to letting in the intrusion of a young woman. Doc is won over when Marie returns to secure the room. He sees in her the daughter they lost, or perhaps his own youthful self. His life has quieted down when he joined A.A. trying to get a cure for his problems with alcohol. When we meet him he is celebrating his firs anniversary of being sober. Being dependent on the bottle made Doc a horrible person that was abusive to Lola and made him lose his chiropractic patients in the process.

Lola, on the other hand, is a messy housewife. In spite of not having to work, she appears to be completely disorganized. The arrival of Marie gives her a diversion from her dreary existence. She lives through Marie the life she once had, but now her world centers around Doc who shows almost no interest in her. Lola is carrying a heavy burden because of the loss of her baby, and that of a little dog that clearly ran away.

Marie, a popular girl, bring home Turk Fisher, a jock, to draw him. Even though she is almost engaged to Bruce, who is an absent figure in her life, at this point, she does not reject the idea of making out with Turk. When Bruce announces a visit, Lola insists in having him for dinner. Doc fighting the demons of his abstinence from alcohol, suddenly cannot postpone drinking again. The Delaneys lives are shattered by something that Doc cannot control.

The original play by William Inge was also directed on the stage by Daniel Mann. In most of the dramas Mr. Inge wrote, there is almost always a woman of a certain age going through a middle age crisis. In this instance it is Lola, a woman torn because the tragedy she experienced in her life, and the horrors she put up with her husband's alcoholism. The world she thought she created around her comes crashing down by circumstances she could not control.

The play, as well as the film, were vehicles in which Shirley Booth shined. She was fortunate that she was chosen to recreate Lola on the screen, something that some of her peers never got to do. Burt Lancaster did not seem well suited to play Doc, and yet, his take on Doc shows him at the peak of his profession. Physically he was too handsome to play opposite Ms. Booth, but his quiet understated performance was a real surprise in a casting that paid off handsomely for him.

The great cinematographer James Wong Howe photographed in sharp black and white the Delaney's home, the only set for the film, without making it claustrophobic. The musical score is by Franz Waxman. The DVD transfer has captured the original me The film is recommended for fans of the genre, although it might appear as a bit dated for today's audiences.
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"Live each day as it comes, and stay sober doing it"
richardchatten11 May 2022
Shirley Booth added an Oscar to the Tony she'd already collected on Broadway in a film of interest in hailing from the days when Hollywood could now deal with unglamorous subjects like alcoholism, unwanted pregnancy and domestic violence. It also demonstrates the value of cinema as a medium that it preserves Miss Booth performance for posterity.
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Wonderful film will never date
Turridulover20 May 2002
This film is as powerful as when I first saw it as a teenager. One would think that after 50 years, the material would seem dated. But in fact, a lot of what was said then, seems even more relevant today. Inge is unfortunately a very underrated writer. He seemed to respond to things on a much more emotional level than many of his contemporaries and this is why his material has not lost interest. His plays never seem to go to an intellectual level. He wrote about what he knew and didn't try to be something he wasn't. Are there really Blanche DuBois and Willie Lomans today? Just listening to those plays, as wonderful as they might be, is something we can no longer relate to. But there will always be Lola Delaneys. Everyone knows a few of them. The film was obviously made on a very tight budget and we are lucky for that. Imagine how it would have been had they cast Rosiland Russell and Jimmy Stewart. Though Burt Lancaster was miscast, the simple fact that he was a great actor, means his performance comes off amazingly well. And what more can be said about Booth, except the extreme regret we who never saw her in the play onstage must feel. The power of that performance is beyond description. Anyone who likes this movie should try to get hold of the new recording of the musical version. It was obviously written by people with tremendous love and respect for Inge's work.
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Shirley Booth won the Tony and the oscar for her portrayal. Burt was great too!
greghoroski17 March 2018
Hard to say too much to laud this movie. It plays much like a Broadway play and is lovely on film.

If you only have a vague remembrance of Shirley Booth as the domestic Hazel in the early TV comedy, then you don't know her well.

Terrific story, great acting and a very intricate story woven by masters of screenplay.

Revel in the classics so you can demand better of today's entertainment fare.
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A touching and sesitive film dealing with the effects of alcohol on a marriage.
gitrich2 November 1998
An acting triumph for both Shirley Booth and Burt Lancaster. This film will stay with you for a long time. Booth won a well deserved Oscar for this performance and it is well worth the time to view it. This is not a happy film obviously to look at but if you appreciate great acting as much as I do, you will really enjoy Come Back Little Sheba.
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Solid Work From Lancaster
gavin69427 June 2016
An emotionally remote recovering alcoholic (Burt Lancaster) and his dowdy, unambitious wife (Shirley Booth) face a personal crisis when they take in an attractive lodger.

Some have called this the definitive film about alcoholism. Maybe. I personally prefer "Lost Weekend", but this is really all the more tragic. Doc Delaney is bitter towards life. His wife is trapped and faces occasional abuse. And we see how the tiniest slip can be a tragedy.

What hit me, maybe even more than the presentation of violent drunkenness, was how vulgar the language was. There are no "f bombs", but by the standards of 1952, I thought it was pushing the envelope. And I don't mean the word "pooped", which I thought was sort of funny.
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Come Back, Little Sheba-Shirley's Oscar Best ***1/2
edwagreen7 March 2006
Shirley Booth won the 1952 Oscar for best actress in this earthy role as Lola Delaney, a woman who had to marry beneath her because she was in trouble. Burt Lancaster did a fine job as the alcoholic husband.

Sheba is the little dog that has gone lost. It will no sooner return as if her drab existence can ever get better.

As a blase woman in a house dress, Shirley Booth reached the heights in dramatic acting and her Oscar was well deserved. Booth also appeared on Broadway in this wonderful part, depicting a bad marriage and unhappy consequences that followed.

Richard Jaeckel and Terry Moore, the latter receiving an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress, gave ample support.
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Omen-29 October 1998
This is a great film. One of Shirley Booth's finest performances I feel. The film centres around the hardships of a woman who seemingly has a perfect life (for the period) but we soon see through the facade and see a strong woman with man hardships who struggles to help her husband maintain an error of distinction and hide his alcholism which quickly fails but she still does not buckle. It all centres around a missing dog, Little Sheba. A must see for any Shirly Booth or Burt Lancaster fan.
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