World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Come Back, Little Sheba (1952 film)

Article Id: WHEBN0000187100
Reproduction Date:

Title: Come Back, Little Sheba (1952 film)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Shirley Booth, 1953 Cannes Film Festival, 7th British Academy Film Awards, Terry Moore (actress), 10th Golden Globe Awards
Collection: 1950S Drama Films, 1952 Films, American Drama Films, American Films, Black-and-White Films, Directorial Debut Films, English-Language Films, Film Scores by Franz Waxman, Films About Alcoholism, Films Based on Plays, Films Directed by Daniel Mann, Films Featuring a Best Actress Academy Award Winning Performance, Films Featuring a Best Drama Actress Golden Globe Winning Performance, Films Produced by Hal B. Wallis, Paramount Pictures Films, Screenplays by Ketti Frings
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Come Back, Little Sheba (1952 film)

Come Back, Little Sheba
Original film poster
Directed by Daniel Mann
Produced by Hal B. Wallis
Written by Ketti Frings
William Inge (play)
Starring Burt Lancaster
Shirley Booth
Terry Moore
Music by Franz Waxman
Cinematography James Wong Howe
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
December 24, 1952 (1952-12-24)
Running time
99 minutes
Language English
Box office $3.5 million (US)[1]

Come Back, Little Sheba (1952) is a drama film produced by Paramount Pictures which tells the story of a loveless marriage that is rocked when a young woman rents a room in the couple's house. The film stars Burt Lancaster with Terry Moore and Richard Jaeckel. Shirley Booth makes her film debut, which earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress. The title refers to the wife's little dog that disappeared months before the story begins and which she still openly misses.

The movie was adapted by Ketti Frings from the 1950 play of the same title by William Inge and was directed by Daniel Mann (making his directorial debut).


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Reception 3
    • Academy Awards 3.1
  • Other versions 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


"Doc" Delaney (Burt Lancaster) is a recovering alcoholic who, in his younger days, was a promising medical student who dropped out of school to take a job to support a pregnant Lola, whose premarital intercourse with Doc caused her to be thrown out of her family's house by her father. Doc, thinking he was doing the right thing, married Lola (Shirley Booth). The child later died, and in the process rendered Lola unable to have any further children, leaving the couple childless. As a result, Doc turned to drinking excessively, causing him to have bouts of anger and murderous rage, and later drinking away a sizeable inheritance from his parents. He eventually joined Alcoholics Anonymous and was able to quit drinking, though he still keeps a bottle in the house to remind him of his past life.

Marie (Terry Moore) is a young college student who rents a spare room from the Delaneys. One day she brings home a young man, Turk (Richard Jaeckel), who is a star on the track team. He's wearing his track outfit which shows off his muscles, as she intends to use him as a figure model for a poster she's doing for a major athletic competition being held in the town. Mrs. Delaney encourages the couple in their "modeling session", though Doc, who walks in to find Turk underdressed, thinks it borders on pornography. Later, after Marie and Turk leave, it is revealed that Marie is promised to be married to another man, Bruce, who is away but due to return soon.

As Marie's infatuation with Turk grows, Doc becomes more agitated. Lola reminds him that Marie is so much like Lola in her younger days, when she was young and pretty and Doc was dashing and handsome, before Lola became "old, fat, and sloppy". Doc calms down but still voices his disagreement over Marie seeing another boy while Bruce is away.

One night, Turk and Marie return from a school dance. Marie forgot her key, so Turk enters through a window, unlocks the front door, and lets Marie in. They sneak into Marie's room. Meanwhile, this has been witnessed by Doc, who believes that they are up to no good, and he begins to remember what he was like with Lola. He goes back to the kitchen and reaches for his bottle hidden in the cupboard. Back in Marie's room, she changes her mind about Turk and asks him to leave. He accuses her of being a big tease and is about to force his way onto her when he changes his mind and leaves, unseen by Doc, through a window.

The next morning Doc takes the whiskey he has not touched for a year from the cabinet, and returns much later that night, drunk and angry at what he perceives to be Marie's infidelity. Doc is in a murderous rage and attacks Lola with a knife before she manages to call two of Doc's support group friends to come take him to the hospital just as Doc follows her into the parlor. Doc stumbles and drops the knife, but passes out while trying to choke Lola. A neighbor hears the commotion and comes running over, just as the two men come to take Doc away.

After Doc is carried off, a shaken Lola calls her mother to see if she can stay there for a few days, but is told that her father still will not welcome her into the family house. Her mother offers to come to Lola's, but Lola declines.

Bruce returns and carries Marie away, where they get married. Her drawing was featured in the athletic poster and Turk becomes the star of the competition. Doc returns from the hospital and is welcomed by Lola. Doc realizes that he loves Lola after all, and begs her never to leave him. Lola promises to stay with him forever.



Come Back, Little Sheba was entered into the 1953 Cannes Film Festival.[2]

Academy Awards


Other versions

A television version of the original play was made in 1977, starring Laurence Olivier, Joanne Woodward and Carrie Fisher. It was directed by Silvio Narizzano.

The play was integrated into a sketch on the Colgate Comedy Hour, starring Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and Burt Lancaster.


  1. ^ 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1953', Variety, January 13, 1954
  2. ^

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from School eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.