Few movies inspire the devotion of Douglas Sirk’s 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: Lora’s loyal maid and dearest friend. And America’s 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 movie’s arc from Fannie Hurst’s 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 century’s most iconic movies.
Humor-Entertainment, Movies, History-Criticism,