Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Douglas Sirk Week: Imitation of Life

Welcome back boys and girls to Day 3 of Douglas Sirk week as we continue sensitive matters of life, the struggles that can occur during and how to better one’s life the pursuit of dreams.  So grab for the stars, stop at nothing and push for the gold.   This is Imitation of Life.

Oh and raise my child whilst I chase my dreams, deary.

I’m somebody else. I’m spoiler…spoiler…SPOILER!  

Lora Meredith (Lana Turner of The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Bad and the Beautiful, Latin Lover, Betrayed and Madame X) a struggling widow with the want and desire of becoming a Broadway actress manages to lose track of her daughter Susie at the beach.  Needing help to finding her daughter she asks a fellow Steve Archer (John Gavin of Raw Edge, Four Girls in Town, A Breath of Scandal, Spartacus and Midnight Lace) to go looking for her.  Susie is found by a lady name of Annie Johnson (Juanita Moore of Skirts Ahoy!, The Royal African Rifles, Women’s Prison,  Queen Bee, Ransom!, The Opposite Sex and The Girl Can’t Help It) an African American divorcee with her own little girl Sarah Jane and unlike her mother, her skin is so light she could pass for white of which she does appreciate the option.  Lora takes Annie in as a nanny to allow her to pursue an acting career and have care for Susie. 

Sorry sweetie but it is a rectal thermometer. 

In spite of the struggles along the way Lora becomes a fairly successful star in comedy with Alan Loomis (Robert Alda of Rhapsody in Blue, The Beast with Five Fingers, Cloak and Dagger, The Girl Who Knew Too Much and The Serpent) as her agent and David Edwards (Dan O’ Herlihy of The Long, Hot Summer, Man From UNCLE, Death Ray 2000, Robocop, Halloween III: Season of the Witch and Robocop 2) as her playwright.  As she attempts a romantic relationship with Steve Archer, their relationship begins to fall apart as Steve feels Lora is too ambitious to be a star and how her focus seems to be heavily on her career instead of spending time with her daughter.  Susie and Sarah Jane seem to be establishing a rapport to the levels like sisters and Annie almost like a mother to them.

 11 Years Later… Lora is considered the cream of the crop Broadway star living in this gorgeous brownstone in Upstate New York and Annie remains with her as nanny, housekeeper and best friend.  After shooting down both David’s screenplay and marriage proposal, Lora meets Steve a decade later and the duo rekindle their relationship.  Teenagers Susie (Sandra Dee of Gidget, If a Man Answers, I’d Rather Be Rich, That Funny Feeling and Rosie!) and Sarah Jane (Susan Kohner of To Hell and Back, The Gene Krupa Story, The Big Fisherman, Going My Way and Route 66) are re-introduced to Steve.  Susie feels all tingly around Steve and Sarah Jane is still passing for white. 

White people do be different.

A few notes about this film.  This shows a level of racism and skin color is a crutch or a benefit.  The issues of mixed relationships are in many perspectives a thing of the past but set the tone for back in the day.   Sarah Jane could not be honest enough with her boy Frankie because she is afraid of his narrowed mindedness and frankly I found it to be sad and no foundation for a relationship.   All emotions are taxed throughout this movie and you will feel the twists and turns but this is also a good thing.