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Imitation of Life Two-Movie Special Edition


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Editorial Reviews

Imitation of Life, one of the most beloved and respected stories of all-time, is now available in a 2-movie Special Edition! Based on the 1933 best-selling novel, this emotionally charged drama chronicles the lives of two widows and their troubled daughters as they struggle to find true happiness in a world plagued by racism. The Imitation of Life: 2-Movie Special Edition includes both versions of the film: the original 1934 Best Picture nominee starring Claudette Colbert and the 1959 masterpiece starring Lana Turner. With storylines tackling racism, romance, family, success and tragedy, Imitation of Life is a powerful story that still resonates with audiences today.

Special Features

Disc 1 - Imitation of Life (1934):
  • Feature Commentary with African-American Cultural Scholar Avery Clayton
  • Trailer


  • Disc 2:
  • Lasting Legacy - An Imitation of Life
  • Feature Commentary with Film Historian Foster Hirsch
  • Trailer

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Claudette Colbert, Louise Beavers, Warren William, Rochelle Hudson, Ned Sparks
    • Directors: John M. Stahl
    • Writers: William Hurlbut
    • Producers: Jr. Carl Laemmle
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
    • Subtitles: French, Spanish
    • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    • Number of discs: 2
    • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
    • Studio: Universal Studios
    • DVD Release Date: January 10, 2012
    • Run Time: 236 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B0068FZ0W4
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,213 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

    Customer Reviews

    It is well acted.
    happy
    There are challenges, racial issues and life altering decisions.
    Dr. Spears
    So happy I can now watch it anytime.
    Grammy-wun

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Mike Tarrani HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on May 11, 2012
    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    This set contains the original 1934 and the remake of a movie that, in both releases, was considered to be socially groundbreaking.

    I am not going to review the two movies because the reviews on their respective product pages to which I have provided links are far more articulate than I can ever be. Instead, I am going to compare and contrast the original and the remake and give some reasons why the films are historically significant and groundbreaking.

    The 1934 movie, Imitation of Life (1934), is based on and substantially follows Fanny Hurst's 1933 novel titled Imitation of Life. The usual Hollywood liberties are taken when transforming a novel into a screen play. The 1959 remake, Imitation of Life, differs significantly in detail (the original characters have different names, meet under different circumstances, and the successes enjoyed by one of the main characters comes from a different avenue.)

    However, while the details differ between the two films, the themes are the same, and the context the storylines are closely aligned to the eras in which the movies were made.

    The basic themes are race relations, the meaning of being Black in American society, and women breaking barriers.

    The 1934 version was the first film to humanize black Americans by portraying the characters as human beings who have feelings, aspirations and strong family ties (and challenges).
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    19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on April 16, 2012
    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    Just received this great dvd today with both movies and a digital copy included. I was shocked to get not only both movies but the digital copy also for less than $7! Amazon is awesome. The 100th Universal Anniversary box is cool too.

    I saw both movies about 13 to 15 years ago and loved them both... i lean a bit toward the remake as my favorite. Both versions continue to spark emotion and interesting conversation. With all that was going on in 1934 and 1959 concerning African-American's it was extremely gutsy and courageous for these movies to have been made... And the 1934 version was nominated for Oscar's Best Movie... how 'bout that!

    The digital copy must be downloaded by going to the universal website using a code included in the box on the left hand side. I have already downloaded my copy into iTunes... you can also download it into Media Player if you don't have iTunes on your computer.
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    6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Matthew G. Sherwin HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 19, 2013
    Format: DVD
    This double sided (no, it's not a two DVD set) has both versions of Imitation of Life--the original film from 1934 and the remake with the same name from 1959. Many reviewers have commented on both with a great deal of insight and they deserve praise for this. Both movies have plots that move along well; I wasn't ever bored and the acting in both is generally rather good although the 1959 film is a bit over the top with the exception of Juanita Moore and Susan Kohner who do a great job. I liked the cinematography and the choreography in each film, too.

    There are a few changes to the plot in the 1959 version which primarily reflect how African-Americans had progressed although certainly their progress as of 1959 is embarrassingly dated by today's standards. In the original film from 1934, a white widowed woman (Claudette Colbert) with a little girl takes in a black woman "mammy figure" (Delilah Johnson played by Louise Beaver) with a very light skinned black daughter whose father was quite light skinned himself; and the same goes for the remake. However, in the remake the white widowed woman (Lana Turner with Sandra Dee playing her daughter as a teenager) gets rich by breaking though in acting while in the original film the white woman teams up with the African-American woman to make pancake ingredients that are nothing short of wonderful. Anyhow, in both versions of the film the two woman become close friends, and well off (the black woman in the 1959 remake is paid well for her services around the house).

    However, some of the similarities stop there.
    Read more ›
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    8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Vaughn Jr. on May 18, 2012
    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    This is a great deal and well worth the money. I just finished watching the remake version and while I enjoyed it, I actually prefer the original. The ending is much better in the remake, but overall the characters, setting and acting is much better overall. Would definitely recommend this to friends and family.
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    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dennis J. Pauly on May 7, 2013
    Format: DVD
    Both versions of Fannie Hurst's tearjerker were filmed before the Civil Rights Movement so must be viewed with that in mind. The 1934 version is even more dated but saved by a beautiful performance by Louise Beavers as Delilah. Had times been different she might have beat Halle to the Oscar by some 70 years instead of being relegated to 5th billing. Even more daring for a 1934 film was Fredi Washington who plays Beavers' daughter who is light skinned and wants to pass. Critics dismissed the 1959 remake as just a Lana Turner glitzy weeper but now is considered a masterpiece. The role of Delilah (renamed Annie) is now played by Juanita Moore who fared better by at least getting an Oscar nomination. And again she carries the picture. Sadly she never got another part worthy of her talents.
    Lana wears a different outfit in every scene and never a hair out of place. Would we have it any other way? Thanks to Universal for making both versions available.
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