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Imitation of Life (1959)

Not Rated | | Drama | 30 April 1959 (USA)
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An aspiring actress befriends a black widow, but trouble arises when the latter is rejected by her daughter, who tries to pass for white.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Lora Meredith
... Steve Archer
... Susie - 16
... Sarah Jane - 18
... Allen Loomis
... David Edwards
... Annie Johnson
Karin Dicker ... Sarah Jane - 8
Terry Burnham ... Susie - 6
... Young Man
Lee Goodman ... Photographer
... Showgirl
... Frankie
... 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

Taglines:

"I'll get the things I want out of life, one way or another...from one man to another!" See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 April 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Imitación de la vida  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$13,990,819

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$25,000,000, 1 January 1970
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Deborah Kerr and Richard Egan were considered for starring roles. See more »

Goofs

During Broadway montage sequence set in 1951, theater sign advertising Ricardo Montalban in the musical Jamaica can be seen. It didn't open until 1957. See more »

Quotes

Annie: I'd be happy knowin' you're meetin' nice young folk...
Sarah Jane: Busboys! Cooks! Chauffeurs!
[Hmph]
Sarah Jane: Like Hawkins. No thank you; I've seen your "nice young folk".
Annie: I don't wanna fight with you, honey. Not tonight. I don't feel too good. While I get started on the anchovies, will you take this tray in to Miss Lora and her friends?
Sarah Jane: [sarcastic] Why, certainly. Anything at all for Miss Lora and her friends.
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 Phenomenon (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Empty Arms
(uncredited)
Written by Arnold Hughes & Frederick Herbert
Performed by Susan Kohner dubbed by Jo Ann Greer
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Beauty! Romance! Betrayal!
12 February 1999 | by 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.


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