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1 Burnside Film and Television- Specific Film

This title in other editions

Born to Be Hurt: The Untold Story of Imitation of Life

by

Born to Be Hurt: The Untold Story of Imitation of Life Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Few movies inspire the devotion of Douglas Sirks 1959 drama “Imitation of Life”—an irresistible story of two single mothers raising daughters together and also commentary on ambition, sex, and racial identity.

Born to be Hurt is the first in-depth “biography” of “Imitation of Life.”  Lana Turner, on the brink of personal and professional ruin after her mobster boyfriend Johnny Stompanato was stabbed by her daughter, starred as glamorous actress Lora Meredith.  Juanita Moore played the greatest role up to that time for an African-American actress: Loras loyal maid and dearest friend.  And Americas cutie pie, Sandra Dee, and powerful newcomer Susan Kohner played the daughters, one sunny and blonde and popular, the other tortured and black-passing-for-white. 

Staggs traces the movies arc from Fannie Hursts novel through the writing and casting to the filming, the promotion, and the reception it received. In Born to be Hurt, he combines vast research, extensive interviews with surviving cast members, and superb storytelling to create a rich, revelatory work about one of the twentieth centurys most iconic movies.

 

Review:

"Douglas Sirk's film Imitation of Life sparks another beguiling celebration of Old Hollywood for Staggs, author of All About 'All About Eve.' Staggs sections the 1959 melodrama's subplots into a campy 'blonde side' (Lana Turner and Sandra Dee as a Broadway star and her daughter, battling over a man), and a tragic 'dark side' (Juanita Miller and Susan Kohner as a black maid and the light-skinned daughter who repudiates her). Refracting themes of racial anxiety, confused identity and the mutual wounds parents and children inflict through Sirk's subtly ironic direction, the movie, Staggs writes, is 'a florid valentine with a death's-head where Cupid ought to be.' Staggs's luxuriously digressive account ranges far beyond the featured attraction. Drawing on chatty interviews with those who worked on or in the film, he profiles studio executives, stars and makeup men alike, assesses their oeuvre and gossips about their scandals, and takes extraneous potshots at everything from modern-day starlets ('nasal-voiced and rather dim overall') to the Catholic Church ('a monolithic theocracy verging on fascism'). Staggs is an often incisive critic, but one who leaves himself raptly open to the emotional impact of movies; he shows readers how compelling Hollywood's imitation of life can be." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

In a passionate and witty behind-the-scenes expose, the author of All About "All About Eve" takes on the classic 1959 Douglas Sirk film starring Lana Turner

Few films inspire the devotion of Imitation of Life, one of the most popular films of the '50s--a split personality drama that's both an irresistible women's picture and a dark commentary on ambition, motherhood, racial identity, and hope lost and found.

Born to be Hurt is the first in-depth account of director Sirks masterpiece. Lana Turner, on the brink of personal and professional ruin starred as Lora Meredith.  African-American actress Juanita Moore played her servant and dearest friend, and Sandra Dee and Susan Kohner their respective daughters, caught up in the heartbreak of the black-passing-for-white daughter in the 1950s. Both Moore and Kohner were Oscar-nominated as Best Supporting Actress. 

The author combines vast research, extensive interviews with surviving cast members, and superb storytelling into a  masterpiece of film writing. Entertaining, saucy, and incisive, this is irresistible reading for every film fan.

About the Author

SAM STAGGS is the author of four books, including three previous biographies of movies: All About All About Eve, Close-Up On Sunset Boulevard, and When Blanche Met Brando. He lives in Dallas, Texas.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312373368
Subtitle:
The Untold Story of Imitation of Life
Author:
Staggs, Sam
Publisher:
St. Martin's Griffin
Subject:
Film & Video - History & Criticism
Subject:
Film - History & Criticism
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20100216
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Plus two 16-page bandw photo inserts
Pages:
464
Dimensions:
7.55 x 5.74 x 1.255 in

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Specific Film

Born to Be Hurt: The Untold Story of Imitation of Life Used Hardcover
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$10.50 In Stock
Product details 464 pages St. Martin's Press - English 9780312373368 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Douglas Sirk's film Imitation of Life sparks another beguiling celebration of Old Hollywood for Staggs, author of All About 'All About Eve.' Staggs sections the 1959 melodrama's subplots into a campy 'blonde side' (Lana Turner and Sandra Dee as a Broadway star and her daughter, battling over a man), and a tragic 'dark side' (Juanita Miller and Susan Kohner as a black maid and the light-skinned daughter who repudiates her). Refracting themes of racial anxiety, confused identity and the mutual wounds parents and children inflict through Sirk's subtly ironic direction, the movie, Staggs writes, is 'a florid valentine with a death's-head where Cupid ought to be.' Staggs's luxuriously digressive account ranges far beyond the featured attraction. Drawing on chatty interviews with those who worked on or in the film, he profiles studio executives, stars and makeup men alike, assesses their oeuvre and gossips about their scandals, and takes extraneous potshots at everything from modern-day starlets ('nasal-voiced and rather dim overall') to the Catholic Church ('a monolithic theocracy verging on fascism'). Staggs is an often incisive critic, but one who leaves himself raptly open to the emotional impact of movies; he shows readers how compelling Hollywood's imitation of life can be." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,

In a passionate and witty behind-the-scenes expose, the author of All About "All About Eve" takes on the classic 1959 Douglas Sirk film starring Lana Turner

Few films inspire the devotion of Imitation of Life, one of the most popular films of the '50s--a split personality drama that's both an irresistible women's picture and a dark commentary on ambition, motherhood, racial identity, and hope lost and found.

Born to be Hurt is the first in-depth account of director Sirks masterpiece. Lana Turner, on the brink of personal and professional ruin starred as Lora Meredith.  African-American actress Juanita Moore played her servant and dearest friend, and Sandra Dee and Susan Kohner their respective daughters, caught up in the heartbreak of the black-passing-for-white daughter in the 1950s. Both Moore and Kohner were Oscar-nominated as Best Supporting Actress. 

The author combines vast research, extensive interviews with surviving cast members, and superb storytelling into a  masterpiece of film writing. Entertaining, saucy, and incisive, this is irresistible reading for every film fan.

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