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Imitation of Life (1959)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  30 April 1959 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 8,591 users  
Reviews: 130 user | 38 critic

A struggling young actress with a six-year-old daughter sets up housekeeping with a homeless black widow and her light-skinned eight-year-old daughter who rejects her mother by trying to pass for white.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Imitation of Life (1959)

Imitation of Life (1959) on IMDb 7.9/10

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Robert Alda ...
...
David Edwards
...
Karin Dicker ...
Terry Burnham ...
John Vivyan ...
Young Man
Lee Goodman ...
Photographer
...
Showgirl
...
Frankie
Sandra Gould ...
Annette
David Tomack ...
Mr. McKenney
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Storyline

Aspiring actress Lora Meredith meets Annie Johnson a homeless black woman at Coney Island and soon they share a tiny apartment. Each woman has an intolerable daughter, though Annie's little girl Sarah Jane, is by far the worse. Neurotic and obnoxious, Sarah Jane doesn't like being black; since she's light-skinned (her father was practically white), she spends the rest of the film passing as white, much to her mother's heartache and shame. Lora, meanwhile, virtually ignores her own daughter in a single-minded quest for stardom. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

actress | friend | love | widow | star | See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 April 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Imitation of Life  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Natalie Wood was considered for the part played by Susan Kohner. See more »

Goofs

Susan Kohner's bedroom clock radio is unplugged throughout both its scenes, although she switches it on to music in the second scene. See more »

Quotes

[Sarah Jane enters carrying a serving tray on her head]
Sarah Jane: [affected Southern Negro accent] Fetched y'all up a mess 'a crawdads, Miss Lora... fo' you an' yo' friends!
Lora: Well, that's quite a trick, Sarah Jane... where did you learn it?
Sarah Jane: [affected Southern Negro accent] Oh, 'tain't no trick ta' totin', Miss Lora! I learned it from my mammy, an' she learned it from ol' massa, 'fo' she belonged to you...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Juanita Moore, who plays Annie, is billed with the credit "And Presenting Juanita Moore as Annie Johnson", even though she had already appeared in many films. See more »

Connections

Version of Imitação da Vida (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

Trouble of the World
Words and music by Unknown
Performed by Mahalia Jackson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Beauty! Romance! Betrayal!
12 February 1999 | by (Seattle, Washington) – See all my reviews

This Five Hanky Weeper is a classic Lana Turner vehicle. She never looked better.

This is a remake of a 1934 Claudette Colbert movie of the same name from a popular Fannie Hurst novel.

The 1934 version is more true to the original story but it is difficult to find and is seldom shown on television.

The story has been rewritten to take full advantage of Ms. Turner's luminescent beauty. Now, instead of a restaurant owner she is a glamorous star of stage and film.

But the underlying pathos is the same -- two women, each with a daughter that does not appreciate the sacrifices their mothers have made.

Before I saw this film I had no idea who Susan Kohner was. She turns out quite a performance and I wonder why she didn't do more films.

Sandra Dee as Ms. Turner's daughter is Sandra Dee playing a daughter -- you've seen it before.

In the final scences when Susan Kohner's character does her "That's my momma..." piece you can hear sobs coming from the people in the audience...

Do not be surprised if some of them are yours.


94 of 143 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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This Is A Very Real Problem jynger71
This is horrible.... rajiv_kuin
Annie's wish for a big funeral. sylvia67
Sarah Jane....why did I keep thinking that part was MADE for..... onemightymike
Crying Over This Film musicman81
Steve's character...a bit creepy in the beginning? Scorpio_65
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