Imitation of Life, 1934

Claudette Colbert plays a widowed mother carrying on her husband’s business of selling maple syrup. She is helped by Louise Beavers as Delilah, the maid who becomes the face of Aunt Delilah’s Pancake Flour. Colbert’s Bea Pullman uses her maid’s secret recipe to become a self-made millionaire. She makes sure Delilah gets her part of the profits, but she can’t help her with her parenting problems.

This important film takes Delilah out of the stereotypical maid role and makes her three dimensional with parenting conflicts. Delilah’s daughter is very light-skinned and wants to pass for white, but her mother won’t let her get away with the deception.

Beavers should have gotten an Oscar for her performance. She gave the role truckloads of emotion. How could anyone watch the ending and not cry?

I recognized Warren William and Ned Sparks from the 1933 film Lady for a Day. They worked well together in both films.

Claudette Colbert showed some “girl power” and took the role of businesswoman to a graceful height.

No comments: