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Come Back, Little Sheba (1952)

Burt Lancaster , Shirley Booth , Daniel Mann  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Burt Lancaster, Shirley Booth, Terry Moore, Richard Jaeckel, Philip Ober
  • Directors: Daniel Mann
  • Writers: Ketti Frings, William Inge
  • Producers: Hal B. Wallis
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Full Screen, Subtitled, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: August 31, 2004
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002ERWXC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,167 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Come Back, Little Sheba" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

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 depressed and bitter about their past, the couple rents out a room to a young woman named Marie and while Marie brings happiness and young love into their home, she also brings old ghosts reminding Doc and Lola of their misfortunes.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
79 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's all about Shirley Booth. November 9, 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
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.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful drama. September 6, 2006
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.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EMOTIONAL POWERHOUSE DRAMA.... June 15, 2004
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.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a performace! October 19, 2005
If I was an actor, this is a performance I would study. Shirley Booth is brillant. It is a unbelievably moving performance, sympathetic, depressing, heart-breaking, incredible! I have watched this film numerous times and I am moved each time. This is probably one of the best performances ever captured on film and, perhaps, one of the most over looked. All I can say is, watch it, watch it, watch it!
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They don't do movies like this any more..... October 27, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sad Sad Film - But Well Worth Seeing
Shirley Booth is the star of this movie, with Burt Lancaster and Terry Moore having supporting roles. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Melvyn Bowler
4.0 out of 5 stars A Dark Side of the 1950's
"Come Back, Little Sheba" received a great deal of attention at the time it was made for the performance of Shirley Booth. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Peter Baklava
3.0 out of 5 stars Mother and Son and no way to suspend DISBELIEF...........
Well, not quite-------for awhile you offer it hope and continue hoping that you will get past this EGREGIOUS mistake, but..... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Raymond Louis Llompart
5.0 out of 5 stars What a fine movie!
What a great movie! What fine acting!
With pros like Burt Lancaster and Shirley Booth you can't do wrong! I enjoyed it a lot.
Published 11 months ago by gaylapija
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Classic Movie!
Love, love, love these OLDIES with the awesome movie stars of yesteryear!!! Burt Lancaster was incredible as an man constantly battling the demons of alcoholism!!! Read more
Published 13 months ago by Vicki of CA
2.0 out of 5 stars Difficulties With Viewing
The video wouldn't play properly in my machine. I suspect it might be because I'm in Australia but as there was no mention of there being any expectation of international... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Rowena Robinson
4.0 out of 5 stars Oldie but Goody
I am a fan of the classic movie genre. I had to have this in my collection. Got it confused with another of Shirley Booths movies called "Hot Spell." Remember that one? Read more
Published 18 months ago by T. Hopson
5.0 out of 5 stars Very impacting! Love this movie!!
What a powerful story this movie has to tell. I first saw this movie in the late 70's and it did not have the impact on me then that it did in 2013. Read more
Published 19 months ago by myview
1.0 out of 5 stars little sheba
not this either beecause i did not like it one bit i am not showing know body or at all.
Published 19 months ago by tonya finley
3.0 out of 5 stars An ambitious attemp but not very insightful
I give the movie credit for tackling complex and difficult phases of life that lead a middle-aged couple to loneliness, anxiety, and (the husband) to drink. Read more
Published on April 20, 2012 by rwx
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