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Come Back, Little Sheba
Come Back Little Sheba
Actors: Burt Lancaster, Shirley Booth, Terry Moore, Richard Jaeckel, Philip Ober
Director: Daniel Mann
Genres: Classics, Drama
NR     2004     1hr 39min

After a shot gun marriage, Lola loses the couple?s baby and relies for comfort on her dog, Sheba, who has run away, while Doc is a recovering alcoholic who blames Lola for his dropping out of medical school. Though still...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Burt Lancaster, Shirley Booth, Terry Moore, Richard Jaeckel, Philip Ober
Director: Daniel Mann
Creators: James Wong Howe, Hal B. Wallis, Ketti Frings, William Inge
Genres: Classics, Drama
Sub-Genres: Classics, Love & Romance, Classics
Studio: Paramount
Format: DVD - Black and White,Full Screen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/31/2004
Original Release Date: 12/24/1952
Theatrical Release Date: 12/24/1952
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 39min
Screens: Black and White,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

It's all about Shirley Booth.
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Shirley Booth's Lola Delaney is (possibly rivalled only by Charles Laughton's Quasimodo) the most pathetic character ever put on film. It is palpably hurtful to bear with her the many humiliations she undergoes during the course of the film. Caught in a sort of stand off relationship with her husband, she is lonely and emotionally wasting away, while seeming to deny this fact to herself. And when she cuts loose and tries to have a little fun, dancing or enjoying radio music meant to transport you out of your daily grind, she is merely the subject of laughter and rolling eyes. Her teary ruminations on the titular lost dog are, as I read it, symbolic of a larger aching need to find someone or something with which to exchange affection. I just saw Come Back again for the first time in 30 years, and I think it is as strong now as it must have been in 1952. The cinematography by the great James Wong Howe starts out bright and ordinary, felling like a 50s sitcom, but as layers of the dark heart of the drama are peeled away, the look becomes noirish and menacing --we know something is going to snap. You won't forget it.Even in a time when films were less gimmicky than today, Come Back is really an anti-gimmick movie. It is just a glimpse into the life of a couple simmering under the surface with regret, old hurt and selfdoubt."
Mark Norvell | HOUSTON | 06/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Shirley Booth and Burt Lancaster are bound together by a mutual tragedy in a sad, childless marriage made worse by Lancaster's alcoholism. When they rent a room to a sexy college student (Terry Moore), everything begins to really unravel. Based on the William Inge play (which also starred Booth and won her a Tony), the film is downbeat but hypnotic thanks to the stars. Booth also won Best Actress for the film with her heartbreaking performance as the dowdy housewife struggling to cope with her husband's problems. The film depicts a somber intervention by AA for Lancaster's character and Booth calling for Sheba (their pet dog that was Booth's child substitute that has run away) as well as some other harrowing scenes that mark this film as serious drama. Booth later became part of TV history in the 60's as "Hazel" but it's her few ventures in films like this that need to be remembered too. She was no beauty but an exceptionally gifted actress who could tear your heart out with performances like the one in "Come Back Little Sheba". Lancaster is excellent as the husband who tries to love his unkempt wife but can't face the real issues. So glad to see this searing drama coming to DVD and will be happy to add it to my library."
They don't do movies like this any more.....
Reginald D. Garrard | Camilla, GA USA | 10/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Shirley Booth is memorable in the role of dowdy wife to alcoholic husband Burt Lancaster (equally as good). The film is an adaptation of the William Inge play and it stands as one of the best transfers from stage to screen. Contrary to other reviewers' opinions, Terry Moore and Richard Jaeckel are great in their supporting roles. For those of us old and fortunate enough to remember Booth from her 60's role as TV's "Hazel," this film shows that the actress was much better than the role of domestic of which she is famous. It also shows the range of her skills."
Powerful drama.
Theresa Williams | USA | 09/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a powerful drama. Lancaster plays a sort of Jeckyll and Hyde character named "Doc": calm and refined when sober, angry and dangerous when drunk. The scene in which, drunk, he attacks his wife, Lola, is harrowing. I've seen few scenes to beat it in terms of intensity and believability. Doc buries his disappointments in drink and harbors a deep suspicion of women's sexuality. Indeed, he is obsessed with female purity; thus the fact that Lola was pregnant before their marriage weighs heavily on him, and Doc, like Lola's father, never forgives her for this sexual "mistake." Booth, as Lola, is heartbreakingly poignant. The dominant symbol in the film, Lola's lost dog, Sheba, represents Lola's lost self: her youth and her dreams. Because she has no where to go when Doc becomes "sick" again, she is forced to resign herself to being a housewife who whitewashes her problems just like she gives her wooden ice box a fresh coat of paint.

"You're all I have," Lola says to Doc at the end of the film. "You're all I ever had." Booth's genius in that scene is most evident. I once read that Inge, the author of the play on which this film is based, was an alcoholic himself and believed that each woman should always stand by her man. But one look at Booth's performance makes it clear that Booth didn't think so. Booth's Lola is desolate at the end of this film. Her mother and father won't take her in and her neighbor's only advice is "keep busy." This, Lola will do, as she must, as she has no choice, but at a high cost.

The first time I saw this film I was 12 or 13 years old. I'm 50 now. I just watched it again tonight. I cried."