Review: ‘Come Back, Little Sheba’

The Broadway legit success, Come Back, Little Sheba, has become a potent piece of screen entertainment. The production is faithful to the William Inge play.

The Broadway legit success, Come Back, Little Sheba, has become a potent piece of screen entertainment. The production is faithful to the William Inge play.

Shirley Booth has the remarkable gift of never appearing to be acting. Opposite her is Burt Lancaster, bringing an unsuspected talent to his role of the middle-aged, alcoholic husband.

The story interest centers on the somewhat dull, middle-aged and middle-class husband and wife portrayed by Lancaster and Booth. She is a frowzy, talkative, earnestly pleasant woman continually living in the past, while he is a man almost beaten by life and a great thirst. Their stoogy, routine existence is brightened one day when a student boarder (Terry Moore) rents a room in their home.

Her cheery, comely presence gives the couple renewed interest, but also brings about the film’s climactic punch when Lancaster’s fondness for her is jolted by believing the girl is going too far in an affair with another student and amateur romeo (Richard Jaeckel).

1952: Best Actress (Shirley Booth).

Nominations: Best Supp. Actress (Terry Moore), Editing

Come Back, Little Sheba

Production

Paramount. Director Daniel Mann; Producer Hal B. Wallis; Screenplay Ketti Frings; Camera James Wong Howe; Editor Warren Low; Music Franz Waxman;; Art Director Hal Pereira, Henry Bumstead

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1952. Running time: 95 MIN.

With

Burt Lancaster Shirley Booth Terry Moore Richard Jaeckel Philip Ober

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