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Imitation of Life (1959) - movie overview

Imitation of Life (1959)

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Plot Description

DVD Release Date
 R1: May 27, 2003

Budget $2,000,000

Running Time
2 hours, 5 minutes

Country USA

Studio Ross Hunter Productions, Universal

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Other Titles
• Imitation of Life
• Solange es Menschen gibt (1959)

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Genre: Romance, Drama, Melodrama, Love, Love Triangle, Tear Jerker, Tragedy, Teenage, Christmas, Hollywood

Plot: In Douglas Sirk's emotionally and visually extravagant final film IMITATION OF LIFE, a life's work of subverted melodrama and razor-sharp social commentary are brought to a resounding and baroque climax. In a role that closely resembles and perhaps parodies her own life, Lana Turner is Lora Meredith, an aspiring actress and single mother who meets Annie Johnson, a black and similarly single and struggling mother. When they move in together, Annie assumes the role of domestic servant and the two women struggle together to raise their two daughters. Annie's daughter, Sarah Jane, favors her father whose skin tone resembles her own extremely light skin, and she slowly comes to resent her mother's black identity. Transcending the feminist labeling that IMITATION OF LIFE risked, the film freely mixes Meredith's rags to riches (with a hefty moral price tag) tale with Annie's scarring struggles to teach her daughter to accept her identity. As Meredith climbs higher and higher in her glamorous rise to stage and screen stardom, she ignores her vulnerable daughter Susie and creates a devastating contrast for the racial and social tragedy that transpires in her own household. With a deft mixture of icy detachment and morose sentimentality rendered through a transcendent art direction, Sirk

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 Directed by
Douglas Sirk
Written on the Wind, All That Heaven Allows, Magnificent Obsession
 Written by
Eleanore Griffin
Boys Town, A Man Called Peter, Back Street
Fannie Hurst
Imitation of Life, Humoresque, Back Street
Lana Turner
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John Gavin
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Sandra Dee
The Dunwich Horror, A Summer Place, Gidget
Robert Alda
The House of Exorcism, The Beast with Five Fingers, Cloak and Dagger
Susan Kohner
To Hell and Back, Freud, The Last Wagon
Dan O'Herlihy
RoboCop, Robocop 2, The Last Starfighter
Juanita Moore
The Kid, Two Moon Junction, The Girl Can't Help It
 Music By
Frank Skinner
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