The Imitation Of Life ( 1959 Classic Movie )

Review by Ty McLemore


Douglas Sirk

Lead Actors:

Lana Turner, John Gavin, Juanita Moore, Susan Kohner


Ross Hunter

Plot Synopsis

Two single mothers randomly meet on a Coney Island boardwalk as their respective, pre-pubescent daughters play together in the sand. One woman is white and an aspiring, yet struggling actress. The other is black, homeless and desperately seeking employment as a maid.

The women pair off as employer and housekeeper and the foursome attempt to survive financially in 1947-era New York City. Beneath the surface, however, trouble brews for the two girls.  One craves attention from her clueless, stardom-obsessed mother while the other, who is fair skinned and fatalistic about her circumstances, tries to pass as white – a consequence of believing that in 20th Century America being another color regulates one to the bottom rungs of society and opportunity.

Oscar-nominated actress Lana Turner plays Lora Meredith while Juanita Moore plays her faithful and sensible housekeeper Annie Johnson.

The story forwards ahead 10 years where they now reside in a plush Manhattan-area mansion with all of the amenities and trappings that Lora’s fame and wealth have bought. The girls are now teenagers  with Turner’s daughter played by Sandra Dee and Johnson’s daughter Sarah Jane played by the alluring and sexy-voiced Susan Kohner.

Sarah Jane’s constant embarrassment of having a black mother causes her to repeatedly run away. The final time comes when a prospective boyfriend learns of her ethnicity and renders a savage beating to her.

Annie, now terminally ill, enlists the help of Lora’s fiancĂ© Steve ( John Gavin ) to find her.  Once found, Annie makes a final visit to say her goodbyes. She dies a few weeks later and as promised by Lora, is given an elaborate funeral complete with a horse-drawn hearse and renowned gospel singer Mahalia Jackson.

The movie ends with a sobbing, hysterical Sarah Jane rushing through the crowd, throwing herself on the casket and begging for her mother’s forgiveness – much to the astonishment of the funeral patrons.

Who Would Like it and Why

Anyone able to identify with sympathetic, yet flawed characters.

Who Might not Like it and Why

Anyone sensitive to the mistreatment or marginalization of women.

Highlights/Top Scenes

Annie pays a surprise visit to Sarah Jane’s dressing room while she prepares for a cabaret show. She assures her daughter that she will no longer meddle in her affairs and asks for a final hug goodbye.

As the two embrace, Sarah Jane cries. Her increasing guilt over the mistreatment of her mother has become apparent.

It is the RARE viewer who will have survived thus far without shedding a tear. The closing scenes will leave even  the most hardened and detached individual misty eyed and shaken. A testament to Sirk in creating a sophisticated, thought-provoking potboiler that ratchets up the emotions to a gut-wrenching climax. 

Now You See Me by (NEW CINEGEOFF CONTRIBUTOR) Adria Elliott Mystique

Now You See Me by (New Cinegeoff Contributor) Adria Elliott Mystique

Adria Elliott Mystique is a lion tamer by trade and once went to school with Harry Potter.

Director: Louis Leterrier

Lead Actors: Morgan Freeman, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco

Producer: Bobby Cohen

Just saw "Now You See Me," release date May 31, 2013. This action packed thriller is perhaps this summer's dark horse. Directed by Louis Leterrier, with screenplay and story by Boaz Yakin and Edward Ricourt, this 116 min caper has enough titillating intrigue to please even the most apathetic of geeks.

The main characters; Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) ,Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Mark Ruffalo (Dylan Rhodes), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), Jake Wilder (Dave Franco) and Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine), all bring an energy packed performance with all the showmanship of true magicians.

In a world of remade and predictable cookie cutter films, this one has more twists and turns than a mountain highway in India. From the get go, they did a very good job of defining each of these characters, as well as letting the audience know what they bring to the table.

With each new element introduced the writers managed to keep you on the edge of your seat, without giving the ending away. Which is unlike most of the films proclaimed block busters for the summer. I for one was glad to not see screen flares throughout the entire film (i.e. Star Trek: Into Darkness), even with all of the bright lights used for the stage scenes.

This film draws the audience in with it's modern reinterpretation reminiscent of the Robinhood tale. By doing and then undoing all of the great happenings, they managed to keep a break neck speed of action without losing the direction of the plot. Final thoughts on this film?

I would go see it again and probably will before it leaves theaters, to see what I missed this first time. The lack of gratuitous nudity and unnecessary vulgarity proves that a great film can stand on it's writing merits alone. I sat the entire movie lost in the wonder that threw me back to how I felt the first time I saw a real magic show as a child. This truly is a wondrous, fun, thought provoking romp through the imagination, which is needed given the current state of the real world as we know it. Three Mike and Ikes.

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makes me want to become a magician with 3 of my friends, rob a bank, and find a random person to become the 5th horsemen

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