Imitation of Life

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Product Overview

Imitation of Life, one of the most beloved and respected stories of all time, is now available in a new two-movie special edition! Based on the 1933 best-selling novel, this emotionally charged drama chronicles the lives of two widows and their troubled daughters as they struggle to find true happiness in a world plagued by racism.

The Imitation of Life Two-Movie Special Edition includes both versions of the film: the original 1934 Best Picture nominee starring Claudette Colbert and the 1959 masterpiece starring Lana Turner. With storylines tackling racism, romance, family, success and tragedy, Imitation of Life is a powerful story that still resonates with audiences today.


Studio Universal
SKU 206710063
UPC 025195019132
UPC 14 00025195019132
Format DVD
Release Date 2/5/2008
Rating NR
Based On A Novel
Family Interaction
Love Affairs
Love Triangle
Love Triangles
Race Relations
Tear Jerker
Editors Note
Note This program contains two films, from 1934 and 1959, based on the novel by Fannie Hurst. Please see individual titles for complete information.
John M. Stahl
Douglas Sirk
Sandra Dee
Louise Beavers
Claudette Colbert
Lana Turner
Cast & Crew
Claudette Colbert - [1934] Actor
Douglas Sirk - [1959] Director
John Gavin - [1959] Actor
John M. Stahl - [1934] Director
Lana Turner - [1959] Actor
Ned Sparks - [1934] Actor
Rochelle Hudson - [1934] Actor
Sandra Dee - [1959] Actor
Susan Kohner - [1959] Actor
Warren William - [1934] Actor
Technical Info
Original Release Date 1934
Catalog ID 61102436
UPC 00025195019132
Number of Discs 2
Running Time 236 minutes
Color B&W and Color
Original Language English
Available Subtitles English, French, Spanish
Available Audio Tracks English
Aspect Ratio
Standard/Anamorphic Widescreen  1.33:1 [4:3]/1.85:1
Winner (1960) Golden Globe, Susan Kohner, [1959] Best Supporting Actress
Nominee (1960) Golden Globe, Juanita Moore, [1959] Best Supporting Actress,Oscar, Susan Kohner, [1959] Best Actress in a Supporting Role,Oscar, Juanita Moore, [1959] Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominee (1935) Oscar, Imitation of Life, [1934] Best Picture,Oscar, Scott R. Beal, [1934] Best Assistant Director,Oscar, Theodore Soderberg, [1934] Best Sound, Recording
ReviewSource Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Review [1934] The first of two film versions of Fannie Hurst's 1933 novel (the other was by Douglas Sirk in 1958, that one took a slightly different direction from Stahl's more faithful one to the book by making it more of a social confrontational work than the original's character study and one of almost unbelievable discretion). Imitation of Life was nominated for an Oscar as Best Picture. The tearjerker was sensitively directed by John M. Stahl ("Back Street"/"Leave Her to Heaven") and was one of the first films to address real racial issues and have blacks star in serious dramatic parts in a contemporary urban setting. It was inspired by the popularity of the Aunt Jemima pancake company. Though it doesn't fully explore the racial issues it raises as fully as it could have, for its time it was daring and courageous. It also touches on a woman making it big in a man's business world by proving to be just as smart and the travails of single moms raising their daughters...The liberal film manages to make its way through a minefield of sincerity, melodrama and racial divides from the America of the 1930s without blowing itself up, which was quite an achievement for a back then Hollywood film--something not to be sneered at.
Reviewer Dennis Schwartz
ReviewRating 9
ReviewSource DVD Times
Review [1959] Imitation of Life is Douglas Sirk's final feature film and one of his most lauded by critics and fans...A fabulously entertaining movie, Imitation of Life barely pauses for breath once it gets going. With a bold, splashy storyline that only the most feeble and talentless director could render dull, it's a soap opera in the very best Hollywood tradition. The themes of searching for fame and attempting to hide one's true background (I don't think the Sarah Jane story element deals purely with racism -- it could be just as much about homosexuality, class, religion or what have you) still resonate today and the film packs a surprisingly emotional punch...Everyone involved gives fine performances; Lara Turner provides exactly the kind of strong-willed independence that the role of Lora requires and Juanita Moore as Annie and Susan Kohner as Sarah Jane were both deservedly nominated for supporting actress Oscars -- odd, seeing as they're essentially the heart and soul of the film...However, this is by no means a perfect film. Much of its problem lies in the fact that it feels like a three-hour movie cut down to two...However, when all's said and done, this is a wonderful piece of cinema and a fittingly glorious final film for a great director. I can't, with a clear conscience, describe it as a masterpiece, but by no means is it far from the mark either.
Reviewer Jon Robertson
ReviewRating 8
DVD, Special Edition
Product Attributes
Video Format DVD
Alan Bacchus, Daily Film Dose [1934] ...a seering emotional drama about racism and female empowerment that in 1934 was decades ahead of its time.
Christopher Null, [1934] The great Claudette Colbert stars in an equally great melodrama from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews [1959] Intelligent and compelling.
Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine [1959] Sirk immediately and deliberately acknowledges the film's metaphoric, almost pathological obsession with surfaces.

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