Imitation of Life

  • Film
  • Drama
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More character study than polemic, wonderfully warm and witty in its observation of two women (one black, one white) who not only crash the race barriers in their friendship but successfully go it alone in a man's world, Stahl's version of Fannie Hurst's novel makes fascinating comparison with Sirk's remake. Where Sirk pushes the final melodramatics into social confrontation, Stahl withdraws in discretion, almost reducing them to naturalistic credibility. But one shot, of a staircase mathematically dividing the house into upstairs and downstairs as the guests arrive for a party which white Colbert hostesses and black Beavers serves from the kitchen, acknowledges Stahl's awareness of the hypocrisy that underlies the script's apparently 'liberal' treatment of blacks.

Release details

Duration: 109 mins

Cast and crew

Director: John M Stahl
Screenwriter: William Hurlblut
Cast: Fredi Washington
Alan Hale
Claudette Colbert
Franklin Pangborn
Louise Beavers
Rochelle Hudson
Warren William
Ned Sparks
Henry Armetta
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