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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 17, No. 13. July 15, 1953

Come Back Little Sheba

Come Back Little Sheba

Congratulations, Shirley Booth! To a mediocre story she brings an acting ability unequalled in years. She it is who holds the story together, and gives it a magnetic attraction to warm even the most critical heart. Burl Lancaster is also good; some say he was miscast; but it is the actor's job to act and the "doctor" is a person who is aloof to all emotions save that of Charity. He painfully lives through each day, not daring to look back on his past. A reformed dipsomaniac, he plays his pari with the restraint demanded of him.

But it is Shirley, as his wife, who gives to the audience the background of the couple. A middle-aged wife, pathetic, day-dreaming, love-starved and pining for some sign of affection from her husband; she condones a love affair between a glamorous college student and a hefty, senuous athlete, which revives the post for Burt, including his seduction of the girl who is now his wife through force of circumstances—"You cannot defy convention or the laws of God," he says at one stage, reflecting perhaps his own regret at the failure of his forced marriage. He is driven to drink again, and when he recovers and returns home he winds love awaiting him; and at last it is recriprocated.

Every verbal rumbling by the wife, every silly word, every gesture is full of expression, tolling to the audience the tragic story of the marriage about to go on the rocks. Yes. Shirley, you well deserve your Oscar.

The director of the film. Daniel Mann, is also to be congratulated for the way in which he builds up the story skilfully to its climax. He was also the producer of the play, written by William Inge.

We would dearly like to see more acting of this caliber.

Grading: *****

In other Words, Great!

Brian C. Shaw.