Imitation of Life

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 84%
IMDb Rating 7.6 10 3


Downloaded 21,059 times
April 14, 2019



Alan Hale as Miller
Claudette Colbert as Cleopatra
Joyce Compton as Blonde
Louise Beavers as Loretta
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
814.60 MB
23.976 fps
111 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.65 GB
23.976 fps
111 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by paulknobloch 9 / 10 / 10

A Flawless Imitation

Melodrama relies heavily on archetype and hyperbole, and when it's done right, when it's pushed to the limit, it almost resembles Noh theatre: human existence as highly stylized ritual; pain, suffering and loss all boiled down into a series of tableaux so rigid that they almost become hieratic. It's a thoroughly unironic and direct means of getting at the truth, and that lack of irony is probably why it's fallen out of fashion. Done wrong, it's unpalatable kitsch. Done right it's high art. Few people understand how far to push it. Fassbinder did, and so did Douglas Sirk. And so did John M. Stahl… Unfortunately, Stahl is rarely mentioned alongside those other two stalwarts. In fact, he's often treated like a hack, an unfortunate buffoon who drove Tiffany Productions into the ground and had to resort to producing talking chimpanzee movies in order to survive. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's no wonder that Sirk remade three of Stahl's masterpieces: Imitation of Life, Magnificent Obsession, and When Tomorrow Comes. But where Sirk serves up subversion via camera angles, lighting, and a painterly control of Technicolor, Stahl comes right at you with static shots, costuming, big chunks of dialogue. A lot of my filmgeeky friends wince when I tell them that Stahl's Imitation of Life is even better than Sirk's, and it is. Stahl's 1934 version is as ostensibly political as any Hollywood film I have ever seen, dealing with issues of class and race and gender as directly as Straub-Huillet or Chantal Ackerman, only in the framework of mainstream cinema, which makes it all the more subversive. The fact that it was made pre-code probably has something to do with it, but still, this film pulls no punches. Imagine Marx and Freud filtered through a lens at a back lot in Burbank. The film, based on a Fannie Hurst novel, follows Claudette Colbert's character, Beatrice Pullman (there is more than one reference to Dante throughout the film, a reminder of the hell we all live in), who gets rich by boxing and mass-producing her African-American maid Delilah's pancake batter (see it for Louise Beavers' performance alone). For publicity's sake, Delilah is turned into an Aunt Jemimah-esque cliché, and later she's abandoned by her light-skinned daughter, who wants nothing more than to pass in the white world. In turn, Beatrice's life is complicated when her own daughter, Jessie, decides she wants to bed mommy's new beau, famed ichthyologist Stephen Archer. Ultimately, the film ends with a grim reminder that in a male-dominated world, female subjectivity, even for someone as insanely successful as Beatrice, is defined by a woman's ability to fill the gaping hole inside her with male adoration. Again, in the hands of most directors, this would be pablum, camp, kitsch. In the hands of John M. Stahl, it's as real as it gets.

Reviewed by zoeyhardy 4 / 10 / 10

So much better than the remake.

I saw the remake years ago. I liked it, but not enough to watch it again. I didn't know there was an original, and stumbled upon it by accident. I was so glad I did. I read others reviews about it being racist, but this was in 1934. Obviously, today this movie wouldn't be relevant, but 83 years ago, I think it was realistic for Delilah to want her life to be the same. When she's told she's made enough money to buy her own house, and a car, she tells Bea not to send her away. She explains she's her cook, and wants to stay her cook, (In real life, Louise Beavers hated to cook) and she only wanted money for her funeral. It was very heartwarming, and probably the most touching movie I've seen in years. Even though Louise Beavers was credited 4th, she was the star. She was so kind, selfless, never complained, and always put everyone before herself. The two women, Delilah and Bea, formed a friendship that spanned 15 years. Together, they built a business that became very successful. I was intrigued by Elmer's million dollar idea, with only two words, "Box it." But, the daughters of two women, brought emotional, and heartbreaking issues to the second half of the movie. I felt so bad for Delilah, and then for her daughter who realized too late, how sorry she was for being ashamed of her mother. Movies don't make me cry, but this one had me in tears. Not so much for Bea's issues with her daughter; but, from the heartbroken Delilah, after her daughter told her she leaving. And how she didn't want anyone to know she was her daughter. Nothing could have been more painful than that, and her death was proof that a you can die from that kind of pain. Watch it with the mindset it was written in, as well as the year. It's emotional, but worth watching. It also makes you appreciate the issues people had to deal with then, aren't at all issues of today.

Reviewed by touser2004 4 / 10 / 10

Unbelievable but important

Representing the struggle that Peola has with a black mother is way ahead of its time but that isn't enough to call it a great film.Beavers was excellent but unbelievable that she wouldn't want a share of the company her recipe created. Elmer Smith was very annoying and Colberts reaction to her daughters infatuation with Stephen Archer was strange to say the least.The scene where Peola begs for forgiveness at her mothers funeral is heartbreaking but other than that a forgettable film

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