Friday, 14 March 2014

Film of the Month - March 2014 - Imitation of Life

This has to be one of my all time favourite films.  I waited years for it to be released on DVD.  There are actually two versions of this story this one released in 1934 starring Claudette Colbert & Louise Beavers and a second version released in 1957 starring Lana Turner.  I prefer the 1934 version as it stays true to the original novel by Fannie Hurst. 

White widow Bea Pullman and her daughter Jessie take in a black housekeeper Deliah Johnson and her daughter Peola exchanging room and board for work. The two women and their daughters soon become like family to one another. Deliah's pancakes made from her grandmothers recipe are a hit with the Pullman family. Bea's husband had his own business selling maple syrup and with Deliah's pancakes and her maple syrup she comes up with an idea to open a pancake house, which proves to be a success so much so that they come up with idea of selling the flour to make the pancakes which they call the  Pancake Flour Cooporation. As a result Bea becomes a successful business women. Fifteen years on and the two girls now grown and problems occur when Bea's daughter thinks she is in love with her mothers boyfriend Steve who is totally oblivious to this young girls feelings. 

Meanwhile light complexioned, Peola ashamed of her African-American heritage, attempts to live her life as white, breaking her mothers heart. Peola eventually runs away from home.

While she is away, Deliah falls ill and dies. Through all their business success Deliah would not take a partnership with Bea which could of made her a wealthy women in her own right.  All she asks is that she has a grand funeral, which Bea provides for her friend, complete with marching band and horse drawn hearse. Just as the procession begins a remorseful Peola appears begging her mothers forgiveness. 

Be warned should you take up the challenge to watch this film a large box of tissues will be required.



  1. This sounds like another film I'd enjoy, I'm going to have to make an effort to watch the ones you're recommending. There must be so many great films that have been made over the years that we haven't seen, it's such a shame when you think about it.

    1. That's the only problem that there are so many fantastic old films to watch. It's deciding which ones other people may be interested in. Both versions of Imitation of Life are good but it's the 1934 version that is true to the original novel which I read many years ago. May be it should be one I read again.