Imitation of Life ’34 01/17/23

The Criterion Collection

John M. Stahl’s superior melodrama is a focus point for the study of African-Americans in Hollywood. Businesswoman Claudette Colbert and housekeeper Louise Beavers raise their daughters together for a story that expresses the racial divide in simple terms. Determined to pass for white, Beavers’ daughter Fredi Washington rejects her mother outright. The tale of motherly sacrifice is in some ways more honest than later ‘social justice’ films about race, yet it sticks closely to Hollywood’s segregationist rules. Costarring Ned Sparks, Warren William and Rochelle Hudson. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.