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Born to Be Hurt: The Untold Story of Imitation of Life Paperback – Bargain Price, February 16, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“If you believe there is such a thing as politics in movie tastes, Born to Be Hurt is the book for you. Sam Staggs’s inside story of the entire ‘Imitation of Life’ phenomenon is funny, obsessive and quite revealing and, like any good fanatic, he takes sides.”—John Waters
“Sam Staggs is one of our liveliest and most likable pop-culture historians. His chronicle of ‘Imitation of Life’, one of the iconic movies of the late 1950s, is beautifully researched and told in his own singular, engaging voice. Thanks to this book, I finally understand the peculiar hold that this movie has had on me for all these years.” -- Brian Kellow, author of Ethel Merman: A Life and The Bennetts: An Acting Family
“[A]nother beguiling celebration of Old Hollywood for Staggs…Staggs's luxuriously digressive account ranges far beyond the featured attraction…he shows readers how compelling Hollywood's imitation of life can be.”—Publishers Weekly
“A bona fide film archaeologist.”—Chicago Tribune
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Top Customer Reviews
This latest outing - the story of the 1959 version of Imitation of Life - finds Mr Staggs having misplaced his sense of humor. Early on Staggs makes it clear that Imitation is a movie that changed his life and his analysis proceeds from there. Like his two earlier books Staggs provides plenty of backstage gossip about the stars and fascinating details about the making of the movie itself. When Staggs sticks to the story behind the story and writes like a fan telling another fan about their favorite movie of all time this is an entertaining book. But this outing just isn't as much fun for several reasons.
First, Staggs takes this movie way too seriously. I'm all for reclaiming popular art as art. I'm also not in the least snobby about the emotional impact even the lowest of art can have on the viewer. But making a case for Imitation as one of the best movies ever made? There you're on your own, Sam. Especially when he has to go through such contortions to explain away the "blonde half" of the movie starring Lana Turner and Sandra Dee. This would be the part of the movie so beloved by fans of camp - until you've seen Lana "acting" like someone "acting" you just haven't lived - and it's entertaining in its way.Read more ›
At times the book feels like it is taking you on a second-by-second journey of the film, covering the dialogue, what was going on in the stars' lives, all the backstage drama, all the creative choices, and more. But after a while, it got tiring. There were simply too many tiny details and unnecessary quotes for readers to care. But perhaps more importantly, Staggs seemed to have a vendetta against Republicans and apparently anyone else who does not think or feel or believe as he does about certain issues. None of that had a place in this book. He could have easily stripped the text of about 50-75 pages of unnecessary banter and ranting and raving and embellishing and just gotten on with it.Read more ›
As a big fan of the book and both movie versions of IMITATION, I hoped to learn some new information, or gain some new insights, from this book. Unfortunately, it was not revelatory; if you've watched the documentary and listened to the commentaries on the recently revised 2-disc DVD release of IMITATION, you know most of what you need to. Staggs' exhaustive research is ultimately much ado about nothing. I didn't need to know how many sets existed in the film, what they cost to construct and strike, and so on.
I was surprised that, despite his research into all the other forms of media (television, movies, and such) that IMITATION has influenced, Staggs neglected its most famous "homage," the late 1960s storyline on ONE LIFE TO LIVE where light-skinned black actress Ellen Holly played Carla Gray, who passed in Llanview society as Carla "Benari," an Italian, embarrassing her dark-skinned mother and ending her engagement to a dark-skinned fiance. Carla eventually confessed to passing and embraced her heritage, providing a happier ending than the one that Sarah Jane, the daughter in IMITATION who wishes to pass for white, probably had. If IMITATION influenced any other media (and even WILL & GRACE is mentioned!), it was this story on ONE LIFE TO LIVE.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you liked the movie, this is your book. An excellent inside story of one of the best movie dramas ever made.Published 3 months ago by Jesus Torres Gonzalez
Always liked that film with all the gloss, gaudiness, flamboyance, and camp! A perennial, and utter tear-jerker for those romantic hearts. An insightful mine of wonderful trivia. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Michael Teo
Just finished reading this book my question is: "Why write a book about a film, the actors and the production of the that you really cannot stand or that you really HATE. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Marc L. Kagan
Informative and fun. If you love the film... this gives you a behind the camera take on what was happening to all involved.Published 13 months ago by Thom Thomas
Elevates this old standard tear jerker into the realm of classic cinema where it belongs.Published 14 months ago by Charles Turner
The movie was definitely one of the best ever made and I thught the acting, the sets, the multiple plotlines and the complex characters were all outstanding! Read morePublished 18 months ago by Reginald Craig
WAS FANTASTIC MOVIE--WANTED TO READ REAL STORY
VERY GOOD.........ACTRESSES AND ACTORS WERE THE BEST
DONT MAKE MOVIES THIS GOOD ANYMORE
"Born to be Hurt" chronicles the making of the film "Imitation of Life" in extensive, at times exhausting detail. Read morePublished on January 25, 2014 by Joel Kramer
Sam Stagg's very insightful book, "Born To Be Hurt: The Untold Story of Imitation of Life" meticulously documents how Hollywood pussyfooted around the making of Fannie Hursts'... Read morePublished on January 22, 2014 by R. M. Desjardins