Come Back Little Sheba was originally a hit Broadway play written by William Inge. Produced in 1950, it starred Shirley Booth as a blowsy, lazy housewife named Lola Delaney and Sidney Blackmer as her disillusioned, alcoholic husband, Doc. Producer Hal Wallis brought the heartbreaking story to the screen via Paramount Pictures in the early 50's, with Booth reprising the role of Lola and Burt Lancaster taking on the part of Doc. The play's director Daniel Mann was also brought in to oversee the production. As with most film versions of famous plays, the story is visually contained with most sets limited to the interior of the Delaney's deteriorating mid-western home. The film's focus is on the couple's deteriorating, mid-western marriage.
Depending on who you ask, Lola is viewed as a sympathetic frump or a half witted slattern, whose non stop prattle drove her husband to drink. Doc could be seen as a kind yet sorely disappointed man, whose once great potential was never to be discovered. However, some call him an internal whiner, who should put on his big boy pants and build some sort of life with the upbeat, friendly Lola, who obviously cares for him. Modern viewers of the film might question the choices made by the principals, living together under such miserable and depressing circumstances, but times and social mores were different in 1950 and the play/film is a good character study of a realistic, unglamrous relationship in mid-century America. By the way, the title refers to Lola's little dog, who ran away before the movie begins and who is referenced throughout.