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Imitation of Life (1959)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  30 April 1959 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 9,617 users  
Reviews: 138 user | 41 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 | love | friend | widow | model | See All (189) »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 April 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Imitação da Vida  »

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

As Sarah Jane (played by Susan Kohner) dances by herself in her room, you will see a picture of Bobby Darin, who later married her co-star, Sandra Dee. See more »

Goofs

The type of desk telephone in Robert Alda's 1947 office was not developed until the mid-1950s. 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

Referenced in Smash: The Nominations (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Imitation of Life
Words by Paul Francis Webster
Music by Sammy Fain
Sung by Earl Grant
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.


95 of 144 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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