Imitation of Life
This melodrama about two single mothers, one white and one black, who join forces has been filmed twice and both are worth seeing. The best remembered is the glossy, glamorous 1959 version with Lana Turner and Juanita Moore. Lora (Turner) and Annie (Moore) are brought together by their daughters, who meet at Coney Island. Lora, a struggling actress, needs someone to help look after her daughter and Annie needs a job and a place to live. Annie moves in to be the housekeeper/nanny. She and Lora have a strong, supportive friendship, though Lora and both girls take Annie for granted. As the girls grow up, Lora’s daughter is resentful of the time her mother spends on her career and Annie’s daughter resents the racism she confronts even though her skin is so light she can pass for white. Watch for: the most elaborate funeral scene ever put on film, with a sobbing apology from Annie’s daughter (Susan Kohner).