Imitation of Life (1934) Movie

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(Hollywood) USA

Ratings / Votes
7.5/ 10 (1795 Votes)

MPAA Ratings

Production Company
Universal Pictures [us] - (A John M. Stahl Production)

Production Designer

All Producers

All Directors


Release Date
(USA) - 26 November 1934
(Turkey) - 1935
(Sweden) - 4 March 1935
(Argentina) - 10 April 1935
(Ireland) - 22 November 1935

Running Time

Brought Back to thrill you again! Fannie Hurst's stirring drama of a mother and a daughter in love with the same man. (re-release) Claudette Colbert at her finest in Imitation of Life (re-release)

based-on-novel, boardwalk, businesswoman, death-by-shock, engagement, female-bonding, friendship, friendship-between-girls, friendship-between-women, funeral, generation-gap, housekeeper, ichthyologist, interracial-friendship, interracial-relationship, light-skinned-black, love-triangle, maid, marriage-proposal, master-servant-relationship, maturation, melodrama, mother-daughter-relationship, neon-sign, new-york-city,

Technical Support
MET: - (12 reels)
OFM:35 mm
PFM:35 mm
RAT:1.37 : 1

Related Pictures

Pictures of Imitation of Life (1934) Movie not found

Full Cast

  1. Armetta, Henry as [The Painter] <9>
  2. Austin, William (I) as (uncredited) [Englishman at Party]
  3. Brooke, Tyler as (uncredited) [Tipsy Man at Party]
  4. Davidson, William B. as (uncredited) [Man Buying Cigar]
  5. Gregg, Reverend as (uncredited) [Black Minister]
  6. Hale, Alan (I) as [Martin, the Furniture Man] <8>
  7. Huntley, G.P. (I) as (uncredited) [James]
  8. Johnston, Stuart as (uncredited) [Black Undertaker]
  9. Kolker, Henry as (uncredited) [Dr. Preston]
  10. Lee, Curry as (uncredited) [Black Chauffeur]
  11. Molnar, Julius as (uncredited) [Footman]
  12. Moorhouse, Bert as (uncredited) [Man at Funeral]
  13. Mortimer, Edmund as (uncredited) [Dance Extra at Party]
  14. Newell, David (I) as (uncredited) [Party Guest Saying Goodbye]
  15. Norton, Barry (I) as (uncredited) [Young Man Proposing Toast]
  16. Norton, Edgar as (uncredited) [Butler at Party]
  17. O Keefe, Dennis (I) as (uncredited) [Dance Extra]
  18. Pangborn, Franklin as (uncredited) [Mr. Carven]
  19. Porcasi, Paul as (uncredited) [Jackson's Restaurant Manager]
  20. Robinson, Hayes as (uncredited) [Man at Funeral]
  21. Shimada, Teru as (uncredited) [Japanese Customer in Pancake Shop]
  22. Sparks, Ned (I) as [Elmer Smith] <4>
  23. Standing, Wyndham as [Jarvis, Beatrice's Butler] <10>
  24. Steers, Larry as (uncredited) [Party Guest]
  25. Turner, Martin (I) as (uncredited) [Man at Funeral]
  26. Walker, Walter (I) as (uncredited) [Hugh]
  27. Warren, Bruce (I) as (uncredited) [Party Guest]
  28. William, Warren as [Stephen 'Steve' Archer] <2>
  29. Wilson, Clarence (I) as (uncredited) [Mr. Bristol, Landlord]
  30. Andre, Monya as (uncredited) [Party Guest]
  31. Ardell, Alyce as (uncredited) [French Maid]
  32. Beavers, Louise as [Delilah Johnson] <5>
  33. Black, Dorothy (I) as (uncredited) [Peola Johnson, Age 35]
  34. Bowdoin, Edna as (uncredited) [Black Secretary]
  35. Bufford, Daisy as (uncredited) [Black Waitress]
  36. Colbert, Claudette as [Beatrice 'Bea' Pullman] <1>
  37. Compton, Joyce (I) as (uncredited) [Young Woman at Party]
  38. Drew, Norma (I) as (uncredited) [Teacher]
  39. Fenwick, Jean as (uncredited) [Bit Role]
  40. Francis, Noel (I) as (uncredited) [Mrs. Eden]
  41. Garner, Paullyn as (uncredited) [Mrs. Ramsey]
  42. Hendricks, Sebie as (uncredited) [Peola Johnson, Age 4]
  43. Hudson, Rochelle as [Jessie Pullman, Age 18] <3>
  44. Jones, Marcia Mae as (uncredited) [Peola's Frontrow Classmate]
  45. Jones, Tiny as (uncredited) [Funeral Spectator]
  46. Knowlden, Marilyn as (uncredited) [Jessie Pullman, Age 8]
  47. Lane, Lenita as (uncredited) [Mrs. Dale]
  48. Lyle, Bessie as (uncredited) [Woman at Funeral]
  49. McDowell, Claire as (uncredited) [Teacher Outside Classroom]
  50. Quigley, Juanita as (as Baby Jane) [Baby Jessie Pullman, Age 3] <7>
  51. Seabrook, Gay as (uncredited) [Party Guest]
  52. Sul-Te-Wan, Madame as (uncredited) [Black Cook]
  53. Sykes, Ethel as (uncredited) [Party Guest]
  54. Taylor, Libby (I) as (uncredited) [Woman at Funeral]
  55. Tell, Alma as (uncredited) [Mrs. Craven]
  56. Washington, Fredi as [Peola Johnson, Age 19] <6>
  57. Washington, Hazel (I) as (uncredited) [Black Maid]
  58. Withers, Jane as (uncredited) [Peola's Frontrow Classmate]


  1. Drama
  2. Romance

Full Plot

Bea Pullman and her daughter Jessie have had a hard time making ends meet since Bea's husband died. Help comes in the form of Delilah Johnson, who agrees to work as Bea's housekeeper in exchange for a room for herself and her daughter Peola. Bea comes up with a plan to market Delilah's pancake recipe. The two soon become wealthy and as the years go on, their friendship deepens. Their relationships with their daughters, however, become strained. Ashamed of her mother, Peola seeks a new life by passing for white. Bea's love for her daughter is tested when she and Jessie fall for the same man. Plot not found

Total Business

CP: Universal Pictures Corp.; 22 November 1934; LP5115 PD: 27 June 1934 - 11 September 1934

Movie Certificate

Atp (Argentina)
Approved (USA)(PCA #412)

Music Composers

  1. Roemheld, Heinz (uncredited)


  1. Gerstad, Merritt B. (as Merritt Gerstad)


Epoca [ar] - (????) (Argentina) (VHS)
Realart Pictures Inc. [us] - (1945) (USA) (theatrical) (re-release)
Realart Pictures Inc. [us] - (1949) (USA) (theatrical) (re-release)
Universal Home Entertainment [us] - (2004) (USA) (DVD) (widescreen)
Universal Home Entertainment [us] - (2008) (USA) (DVD) (Legacy Series)
Universal Pictures [us] - (1934) (USA) (theatrical)
Universal Studios Home Video [us] - (1998) (USA) (VHS)


  1. Bolman, Emily (stand-in: Rochelle Hudson) (uncredited)
  2. Boone, Barbara (stand-in: Juanita Quigley) (uncredited)
  3. Boone, Bernice (secretary) (uncredited)
  4. Hall, Archie (technical director) (uncredited)
  5. Johnson, Alameda (stand-in: Sebie Hendricks) (uncredited)
  6. Johnson, Alma (II) (stand-in: Sebie Hendricks) (uncredited)
  7. Laemmle, Carl (presenter)
  8. McDaniel, Etta (stand-in: Louise Beavers) (uncredited)
  9. Palmatier, Cora (script clerk) (uncredited)
  10. West, Mary (II) (child welfare worker) (uncredited)


Jessie Pullman, Age 18: After all, what's the good of algebra and all that stuff to a girl? Delilah Johnson: What's my baby want? Peola Johnson, Age 19: I want to be white, like I look. Delilah Johnson: Peola! Peola Johnson, Age 19: [gesturing to mirror] Look at me. Am I not white? Isn't that a white girl? Baby Jessie Pullman, Age 3: I want my quack-quack! Delilah Johnson: [to Peola] Bow your head! You got to learn to take it! Beatrice 'Bea' Pullman: Don't you want your own house? Delilah Johnson: No. How am I to take care of you and Miss Jessie if I aint here?

Other Titles

  1. Frauen am Scheidewege (1934) (ENG)

  2. Lo specchio della vita (1934) (ENG)

  3. Specchio della vita, Lo (1934) (ITA)

Shooting/Filming Locations

  1. Universal Studios - 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California, USA - (studio)


- 'Fredi Washington' (qv) (Peola, Aged 19) was a light-skinned African-American. After playing this role, she was criticized by some in the black community who labored under the misconception that the actress herself practiced self-hatred and would rather 'pass' herself off as white. Ms. Washington was, in fact, an avid civil rights activist.

- Although cast as the daughter of 'Louise Beavers' (qv) (Delilah), 'Fredi Washington' (Peola, age 19) was in reality less than two years younger than her onscreen mother. She was, however, considerably slimmer than the matronly Beavers, which enabled the pair to "pass" as mother and daughter.

- Eight uncredited writers contributed to the screenplay, including 'Preston Sturges' (qv) and 'Finley Peter Dunne' (qv).

- 'Paul Lukas (I)' (qv) was the original choice for the male lead.

- The script didn't get Breen office approval until the film was two weeks into shooting.

- Paramount loaned 'Claudette Colbert' (qv) out to Universal for the film.

- 'Claudette Colbert' (qv) and 'Warren William' (qv) also co-starred in 'Cecil B. DeMille' (qv)'s _Cleopatra (1934)_ (qv) that same year.

- 1934 proved to be a banner year for 'Claudette