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  • Contains racial identity theme, racist references and sex references
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Imitation of Life

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Imitation of Life 12 rating

Douglas Sirk’s final Hollywood film is a masterpiece of melodrama, for which Juanita Moore became the fifth African-American Oscar-nominee.

Melodrama 1959 125 mins

Director: Douglas Sirk

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Overview

Douglas Sirk’s final Hollywood film is a masterpiece of melodrama, combining themes of class race and gender with the director’s infamous penchant for sly subversion. The second adaptation of Fannie Hurst's novel after John M. Stahl’s 1934 film, it tells the story of a struggling actress (Lana Turner) and her friendship with her widowed black housemaid (Juanita Moore), whose white-skinned daughter (Susan Kohner) rejects her African-American heritage.

Delivering his final Hollywood film before returning to his native Germany, Sirk is here at his acerbic and playful peak, puncturing with glee the social mores of white-picket-fenced 1950s America. Moore became the fifth African-American to be nominated for an Academy Award, while Kohner was also nominated in the same Best Supporting Actress category.

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