Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Jan 15, 2021

It’s our epic episode on the three Imitations of Life! Hear us discuss Fannie Hurst’s massively popular 1933 novel and its two popular film adaptations: John M. Stahl’s restrained 1934 version, the first Hollywood movie to look seriously, if cautiously, at the impact of white supremacy and racial inequality in America, and Douglas Sirk’s strategically lurid, early civil rights-era version, from 1959. We attempt to thoroughly debunk the “trash” reputation of Hurst’s eccentric, elaborately written, and harrowing novel, which not only addresses white supremacy but also harpoons the nuclear family and the American religion of success, while putting mother-daughter emotional ambivalence at its imaginative center. We then go on to discuss some of the reasons for the changes from page to screen, and a blatantly political addition to the story in the original Stahl script that didn’t make it past the censors. Warning for as much disturbing content as you can imagine this topic occasioning, and then some. 

Time Codes:

0h 0m 00s:              Imitation of Life (novel by Fannie Hurst)

1h 04m 35s:            IMITATION OF LIFE (1934 – dir. John M. Stahl)

1h 57m 48s:            IMITATION OF LIFE (1959 – dir. Douglas Sirk)



* Check out our Complete Upcoming Schedule - now projected to the end of our Lilli Palmer series in 2024

* Find Elise’s latest film piece on Billy Wilder and 1930s Romantic Comedy

*And Read lots of Elise’s Writing at Bright Wall/Dark RoomCléo, and Bright Lights.*

Follow us on Twitter at @therebuggy

Write to us at