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Imitation of Life (1934/1959) [Two-Movie Special Edition] [2 Discs] [Includes Digital Copy] [DVD]

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$9.99
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Overview

Special Features

  • Lasting Legacy - An Imitation of Life
  • Academy Award nominee Juanita Moore and respected historians reflect upon the making of the films and examine the enduring themes of race, family and identity in this retrospective documentary
  • 1934 Feature Commentary with Film Historian African-American Cultural Scholar Avery Clayton
  • 1959 Feature Commentary with Film Historian Foster Hirsch
  • Original Trailers

Synopsis

Imitation of Life
This glamorized remake of the 1934 film Imitation of Life bears only a passing resemblance to its source, the best-selling novel by Fannie Hurst. Originally, the heroine was a widowed mother who kept the wolf from the door by setting up a successful pancake business with her black housemaid. In the remake, Lana Turner stars as a would-be actress who is raising her daughter on her own. She chances to meet another single mother at the beach: African-American Juanita Moore. Moore goes to work as Turner's housekeeper, bringing her light-skinned daughter along. As Turner's stage career goes into high gear, Moore is saddled with the responsibility of raising both Turner's daughter and her own. Exposed to the advantages of the white world, Moore's grown-up daughter (Susan Kohner) passes for white, causing her mother a great deal of heartache. Meanwhile, Turner's grown daughter (Sandra Dee), neglected by her mother, seeks comfort in the arms of handsome photographer John Gavin. When Moore dies, her daughter realizes how selfish she's been; simultaneously, Turner awakens to the fact that she hasn't been much of a mother for her own daughter, whose romance has gone down the tubes. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Imitation of Life
The first of two film version of Fannie Hurst's novel, 1934's Imitation of Life chronicles the friendship between two women--one white (Claudette Colbert), one black (Louise Beavers). Colbert is a widow with a baby daughter who hires Beavers, who also has a daughter, as a housekeeper. Colbert is a working girl who yearns to operate her own business, which she does thanks to Beavers' special pancake recipe. A family friend (Ned Sparks) suggests that the ladies form a corporation to merchandise the "Aunt Delilah" pancake mix, and within ten years both women are quite wealthy. Colbert's relationship with her teenaged daughter (Rochelle Hudson) is strained when both ladies vie for the attentions of the same man, but these problems are minor compared to the travails of Beavers, who not only must deal with the De Facto segregation of the 1930s but must also contend with her restless daughter (Fredi Washington), who resents being an African-American and attempts to pass for white. The heartbroken Beavers dies, and at her funeral her now-chastened daughter weeps out her apologies for turning her back on her mother. Imitation of Life was remade in 1959, its story glamorized and updated to accommodate star Lana Turner. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Lana Turner
    Lana Turner - Lora Meredith
  • John Gavin
    John Gavin - Steve Archer
  • Juanita Moore
    Juanita Moore - Annie Johnson
  • Sandra Dee
    Sandra Dee - Susie (older)
  • Dan O'Herlihy
    Dan O'Herlihy - David Edwards
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