Imitation of Life: Two-Movie Special Edition

Imitation of Life: Two-Movie Special Edition

4.3 13
Director: Douglas Sirk

Cast: Douglas Sirk, John M. Stahl, Claudette Colbert, Lana Turner

     
 

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…  See more details below

Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
The great director Douglas Sirk's Imitation of Life, a spectacular, sprawling melodrama, follows a widowed aspiring actress (Lana Turner) and a homeless single mother (Juanita Moore) who raise their daughters together. While the actress's rise to Broadway stardom at the cost of true love gives the first half of the film a romantic arc, the relationship between the two mothers -- one white, one black -- gradually takes center stage. Sirk never compromises the integrity of the genre, steadfastly crafting archetypes instead of stereotypes while avoiding overt allegory or satire. This earnest sophistication gives Imitation of Life a weight that transcends social commentary. Turner's performance is pivotal, a grandiose portrayal of ambition and desire that fuels the story while contrasting brilliantly with Moore's austerity. Based on a bestselling novel by Fannie Hurst, Sirk's film was the second adaptation of the book, and it strays much farther from the source material than the more straightforward 1934 screen version. They truly don't make movies like this anymore; Imitation of Life stands as Sirk's masterpiece and perhaps the greatest Hollywood melodrama ever made.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/05/2008
UPC:
0025195019132
Rating:
NR
Source:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
1
Time:
3:56:00
Sales rank:
29,819

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 African-American cultural scholar Avery Clayton; 1959 commentary with film historian Foster Hirsch; Original trailers

Cast & Crew

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Imitation of Life (1934)
1. "I Want My Quack Quack" (Main Titles) [6:36]
2. Room & Board [5:50]
3. Special Secret Recipe [5:59]
4. Aunt Delilah's Pancake Shop [5:24]
5. Paid in Full [4:46]
6. One Hundred Thousand Dollar Idea [7:53]
7. On Easy Street [6:14]
8. Meet the Pancake Queen [6:10]
9. No Time for Romance [5:00]
10. Go Amongst Your Own [4:31]
11. Let's Be Married [1:53]
12. All Grown Up [5:06]
13. Disowned Family [5:46]
14. Silly Child [9:13]
15. Delilah's Not Well [7:18]
16. Keep Control [5:32]
17. "Where's My Baby?" [4:42]
18. Family Comes First (End Titles) [7:32]
Disc #2 -- Imitation of Life (1959)
1. Main Titles [2:15]
2. Two Mothers [12:13]
3. Steve Archer [5:33]
4. The Agent [7:49]
5. Everything's Wrong [4:15]
6. Sarah Jane's Shame [4:08]
7. Big News [7:23]
8. The Audition [2:33]
9. A Star Is Born [8:07]
10. The New Home [3:54]
11. An Old and Dear Friend [10:20]
12. Sarah Jane's Secret [3:58]
13. To Be Different [4:37]
14. The Boyfriend [9:59]
15. "Respectable" Job [6:11]
16. Looking for Sarah Jane [9:57]
17. In Love With Steve [9:18]
18. Annie's Last Wishes [5:19]
19. The Funeral [6:01]
20. End Titles [:28]

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