Imitation of Life (1934)

Nov 26, 1934 | Drama, General Film, Pre 1940, Romance

Director: John M. Stahl

Writer(s): Fannie Hurst, William Hurlbut

Starring: Claudette Colbert, Warren William, Rochelle Hudson, Ned Sparks, Louise Beavers, Fredi Washington, Juanita Quigley, Alan Hale, Henry Armetta, Wyndham Standing, Monya Andre, Alyce Ardell, William Austin, Dorothy Black, Edna Bowdoin, Tyler Brooke, Daisy Bufford, Joyce Compton, William B. Davidson, Sayre Dearing, Norma Drew, Jean Fenwick, Noel Francis, Paullyn Garner, Dick Gordon, Jesse Graves, Reverend Gregg, Sebie Hendricks, G.P. Huntley, Stuart Johnston, Marcia Mae Jones, Tiny Jones, Marilyn Knowlden, Henry Kolker, Lenita Lane, Curry Lee, Bessie Lyle, Hattie McDaniel, Claire McDowell, Harold Miller, Julius Molnar, Bert Moorhouse, Edmund Mortimer, David Newell, Barry Norton, Edgar Norton, Dennis O’Keefe, Franklin Pangborn, Paul Porcasi, Hayes Robinson, Ronald R. Rondell, Gay Seabrook, Teru Shimada, Larry Steers, Madame Sul-Te-Wan, Ethel Sykes, Libby Taylor, Alma Tell, Fred ‘Snowflake’ Toones, Martin Turner, Walter Walker, Bruce Warren, Hazel Washington, Clarence Wilson, Jane Withers

Synopsis: A struggling widow and her daughter take in a black housekeeper and her fair-skinned daughter; the two women start a successful business, but face familial, identity, and racial issues along the way.

Release Date: November 26, 1934 (USA) | Length: 111 min | Genre: Drama, Romance | Certificate: Approved

Note: The girl playing Peola at age 4 doesn’t look black but the actress Sebie Hendricks is listed as negro in the 1940 census. Also, the girl who plays Peola age 10 (Dorothy Black) doesn’t appear to be black. Edna Bowdoin’s character is listed as “Black Secretary”, but I didn’t find a secretary in the film, only the assistant to the doctor but there was no listing for a nurse. Bessie Lyle and Hayes Robinson are people at the funeral but there are so many people there, I can’t figure out exactly who they are.