|World's Largest African-American
Books, Videos, Music, Toys, Calendars & More
|Key Word Search|||||Browse by Subject||
Imitation of Life Two Movie - DVD
Imitation of Life DVD
and Claudette Colbert (1934)
Juanita Moore and Lana Turner (1959)
This two-movie DVD contains both versions of this classic film about a tragic mulatto who has difficulty coming to terms with her African-American heritage.
The original 1934 version, starring Louise Beavers and Claudette Colbert, is the first (and more faithful) screen adaptation of Fannie Hurst's eponymous novel, with Colbert and Beavers as the two mothers whose respective hearts are broken by their daughters. After the two successfully market the African-American Beavers' prize-winning pancakes, their material success can't keep Beavers' lighter-skinned daughter from rejecting her in favor of "passing" in white society. At the same time, Colbert and her daughter fall in love with the same man, and Colbert is forced to reject him.
The 1959 version, which is the most well-known of the two, stars Juanita Moore and Lana Turner as Lora Meredith and Annie Johnson -- two widows, one white, the other black, who forge a close friendship when financial circumstances demand they share a small, cold-water flat. Their daughters, golden-haired Susie and light-skinned Sarah Jane (who passes for white against her mother's wishes) grow up together. Their financial lot improves when Lora's acting career brings fame and fortune. But life changes little for Annie who continues to work as Lora's maid. Both girls grow to resent their mothers; Susie becomes the spoiled, neglected daughter of a celebrated actress, while Sarah Jane, frustrated at the difficulties of being black in American society, continues to reject her mother's admonitions that she not try to pass.