Imitation of Life (1959)

Imitation of Life



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

This glamorized remake of the 1934 film Imitation of Life bears only a passing resemblance to its source, the best-selling novel by Fannie Hurst. Originally, the heroine was a widowed mother who kept the wolf from the door by setting up a successful pancake business with her black housemaid. In the remake, Lana Turner stars as a would-be actress who is raising her daughter on her own. She chances to meet another single mother at the beach: African-American Juanita Moore. Moore goes to work as … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Eleanore Griffin, Allan Scott, Allan G. Scott, Allan Scott
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 7, 2003
Universal Studios


as Lora Meredith

as Annie Johnson

as Steve Archer

as Susie (age 16)

as David Edwards

as Frankie

as Sarah Jane (age 18)

as Allen Loomis

as Sarah Jane (age 8)

as Suzie (age 6)

as Young Man

as Photographer

as Show Girl

as Receptionist

as Burly Man

as Minister

as Fat Man

as Teacher

as Romano

as Geraldine Moore

as Preston Mitchell

as Actress

as Policeman

as Furniture Mover
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Imitation of Life

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Critic Reviews for Imitation of Life

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (7)

The toughest-minded, most irresolvable movie ever made about race in this country.

Full Review… | March 31, 2015
Village Voice
Top Critic

Imitation of Life is still a potent onion. When passed before the moviegoer's eyes, it may force theater owners to install aisle scuppers to drain off the tears.

Full Review… | May 20, 2011
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

While this device lends more scope, it also results in the overdone busy actress/neglected daughter conflict.

Full Review… | March 19, 2009
Top Critic

This modernized remake of Miss Hurst's frankly lachrymose tale is much the same as its soggy predecessor. It is the most shameless tear-jerker in a couple of years.

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Forget those who decry the '50s Hollywood melodrama; it is through the conventions of that hyper-emotional genre that Sirk is able to make such a devastatingly embittered and pessimistic movie.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Douglas Sirk's 1959 film was the biggest grosser in Universal's history until the release of Airport, yet it's also one of the most intellectually demanding films ever made in Hollywood.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Imitation of Life

A sweet and sour pie of the morality and values of it's time. Tasty, colorful in the outside, with so much hipocrisy, prejudices lurking inside. Its deep sensitive core could only be reached by Sirk's nobility. His lyrical and non judgemental treatment , helped by one of the best cinematographers that ever was, Mr. Russell Metty, and amazing performers, beginning with a surprisingly good Lana Turner (This and "The Bad and the Beautiful" were without a doubt her finest acting moments).

Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer

Imitation of Life is sentimental without being sappy. It's also boldly allegorical without being preachy. I'm tempted to say that it was ahead of its time but, by 1959, it was long overdue.

Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

A soul chilling look at life and love, this film is devestating, extreemly moving and ultimately a soul crushing tragedy.

Jeremy Smith

Super Reviewer

Imitation of Life Quotes

– Submitted by monsieur r (3 years ago)

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