Come Back, Little Sheba
Based on William Inge’s play, a middle-aged alcoholic and his childless wife are reminded of their courtship when a college girl rents a room in their house.
Marie Buckholder (Terry Moore) comes to look at the room for rent, and Lola Delaney (Shirley Booth) shows it to her. Doc Delaney (Burt Lancaster) tells Lola he doesn’t want anyone there. Doc says he no longer drinks. Lola goes out, and Marie comes back for the front room. Doc rents it to her.
Lola and Doc attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Marie is writing to Bruce. Lola tells Doc that she dreamt she lost her dog, Little Sheba. At breakfast Lola asks Doc to say the serenity prayer. Doc walks with Marie, who sees Turk Fisher (Richard Jaeckel). Lola gives the postman water and tells him that Doc is an alcoholic who stopped drinking a year ago. She listens to the radio. Marie comes in with Turk, who poses for her drawing. Doc comes home for lunch and complains to Lola that Turk is undressed. Turk kisses Marie.
While Doc reads, Lola says he was jealous. She asks if he is sorry he had to marry her and give up his studies. Doc goes to a hospital with Ed (Philip Ober) to help a drunk.
Lola gets Doc to dance with her and hopes she will lose fat. Turk and Marie study together, and Doc goes out. Turk gets Marie to dance close, and Lola secretly watches. Turk and Marie go out dancing. Later Doc sees Turk and Marie kissing. Marie says that Bruce wants to marry her and is coming tomorrow. Turk gets jealous and leaves. Doc is tempted to drink.
The next day Marie fixes baking soda for Doc. He puts the whiskey in his coat and leaves. Bruce (Walter Kelley) arrives, and Lola has prepared dinner. She can’t find the liquor and calls Ed. Lola serves dinner for Bruce and Marie. Much later Lola calls Ed again. Doc comes in and replaces the bottle. Lola asks why he did it. She says that Marie is not in either. Drunk Doc says Marie and Lola are sluts. Doc breaks dishes and drinks more. Lola calls Ed. Doc threatens her with a knife. He chokes her and collapses. Ed comes in and lets Doc have one more drink before taking him to the hospital. Mrs. Coffman (Lisa Golm) tells Lola to keep busy. Mrs. Coffman answers the phone and learns that Bruce and Marie were married. Lola goes to see Doc who is restrained in bed. Ed takes Lola home. Lola calls her mother and asks to come home but tells her not to come there.
Doc is discharged and comes home. Lola tells him about Marie and Bruce. Doc asks Lola to forgive him and never leave him. She fixes breakfast for him and describes her dream. She says Little Sheba is not coming back.
This melancholy drama portrays a disappointed man and his wife, who often reminds him of past memories. Both are excited and disturbed by their pretty tenant who has two boyfriends because they do not want her to make mistakes as they did.