Monday, April 17, 2006

On This Day in Movie History...

The final American film from the great Douglas Sirk, Imitation of Life opened in New York City 47 years ago today in 1959.

Add it to your Netflix queue. You won't regret it. (It's also great fun to watch it back to back with the 1934 Claudette Colbert version to see the changes brought by two decades passing and a new director)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Many years ago I had a film class in which the movies of Douglas Sirk were one of our main topics of study (and it was a very interesting class, I might add). Our professor did indeed show us both versions of "Imitation" (the latter of which I'd already seen) and I wholeheartedly support your recommendation for us all to do so.

Amazingly (sort of), it is the Stahl/Colbert version of 1934 in which the relationships between the two women are more honest, respectful and equal. Amazing, that is, until one realizes that Sirk was, as usual, mocking American conventions and such. As my professor pointed out way back then, it was no accident that Sirk cast the mannequin that was Lana Turner in the leading role. With all due respect to the memory of Ms. Turner, vanity and insincerity were necessary for Sirk's vision, and she possessed them in spades.

I see Turner's character (in Sirk's hands) as the embodiment of what we would eventually see much more of in the decades to come...well-intended yet self-serving Liberal guilt (and I say that as a life-long Liberal). I think a current update would be a fascination, and with none other than Sharon Stone in the lead.

Great topic, and thanks.

Anonymous said...

P.S. to my post above...

I say "amazing" in that one would think that 25 years later there'd have been some progress within the story, especially one that was updated to present time. There again, I think Sirk's point was that, beyond the surface, there really hadn't been much progress at all.

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