Imitation of Life (1959 film)

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Imitation of Life is a 1959 film about an aspiring white actress who takes in an African American widow whose mixed-race daughter is desperate to be seen as white.

Directed by Douglas Sirk. Written by Eleanore Griffin and Allan Scott, adapted from Fannie Hurst's 1933 novel.
I'll get the things I want out of life, one way or another...from one man to another!

Lora Meredith

  • [to Sarah Jane] You weren't being colored, you were just being childish.
  • Well, I'm going up and up and up - and nobody's going to pull me down!

Annie Johnson

  • How do you tell a child that she was born to be hurt?
  • Miss Lora, we just come from a place where... where my color deviled my baby. Now, anything here has gotta be better.
  • Our wedding day, and the day we die are the great events of life.


  • Sarah Jane: Miss Lora, you don't know what it means to be... different...


Lora: Now, just a moment, young lady! It's only because of my ambition that you've had the best of everything. And that's a solid achievement that any mother can be proud of!
Susie, age 16: [tearfully] And how about a mother's love?
Lora: LOVE? But you've always had that!
Susie, age 16: Yes, by telephone, by postcard, by magazine interviews... you've given me everything... but yourself!

Lora: You're aiming high.
Steve: Why not? It doesn't cost any more. Don't you believe in chasing rainbows?

Lora: It never occurred to me that you had many friends. You never have any visit you.
Annie: I know lots of people. Oh, hundreds.
Lora: Really?
Annie: I belong to the Baptist church. And I belong to several lodges too.
Lora: I didn't know.
Annie: Miss Lora, you never asked.

Steve: Your bones...
Lora: What about my bones?
Steve: They're perfect. My camera could easily have a love affair with you.

Lora: If Steve really means that much to you I'll give him up. I'll never see him again.
Susie: Oh, Mother. Stop acting!

Annie: I'd be happy knowin' you're meetin' nice young folk...
Sarah Jane: Busboys! Cooks! Chauffeurs! Like Hawkins. No thank you; I've seen your "nice young folk".
Annie: I don't wanna fight with you, honey. Not tonight. I don't feel too good. While I get started on the anchovies, will you take this tray in to Miss Lora and her friends?
Sarah Jane: [sarcastic] Why, certainly. Anything at all for Miss Lora and her friends.