Juanita Moore and Sandra Dee in Imitation of Life (1959)
Juanita Moore and Sandra Dee in Imitation of Life (1959)
Imitation of Life (1959)

The Melbourne Cinémathèque & ACMI present

Imitation of Life

Douglas Sirk | USA | 1959 | Unclassified (15+)

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One of the great films about maternal sacrifice and race, Sirk’s swansong is celebrated as a sumptuous Hollywood melodrama nonpareil, as well as a characteristically searing critique of US materialism. This second adaptation of Fannie Hurst’s 1933 novel was made under the charge of showy producer Ross Hunter and is feted for its lush aesthetic palette, magnificent costume design and powerhouse onscreen performance by Gospel legend Mahalia Jackson. A career high for Lana Turner and Juanita Moore, it also features Sandra Dee, Susan Kohner and John Gavin.

Format: 35mm
Language: English
Source: Universal
Duration: 125 mins



125 mins


Unclassified (15+)


Cinema 1, Level 2
ACMI, Fed Square

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Also screening on Wed 24 August

About the program

Best known as the director of a string of lavish Hollywood melodramas made for Universal Pictures in the 1950s, Douglas Sirk’s (1897–1987) feature-film career spanned almost 40 films between 1935 and 1959. He was a successful theatre director in Weimar Germany prior to transferring his passion and critical eye to the silver screen, moving from Nazi Germany to the United States in the late 1930s.

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Douglas Sirk headshot

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Australia's longest-running film society, Melbourne Cinémathèque screens significant works of international cinema in the medium they were created, the way they would have originally screened.

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