Imitation Of Life

Synopsis: Aspiring actress Lora Meredith meets Annie Johnson, a homeless black woman at Coney Island and soon they share a tiny apartment. Each woman has an intolerable daughter, though, Annie's little girl Sarah Jane, is by far the worse. Neurotic and obnoxious, Sarah Jane doesn't like being black; since she's light-skinned (her father was practically white), she spends the rest of the film passing as white, much to her mother's heartache and shame. Lora, meanwhile, virtually ignores her own daughter in a single-minded quest for stardom.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Douglas Sirk
Production: Universal Studios
  Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
125 min

Susie! Susie!


The most sensational...


Pardon me. Have you

seen a little girl

in a blue sunsuit?


Oh, I'm awfully sorry.

No harm done.

I'm looking for my daughter.

Have you seen a little girl

all by herself?

No, but if you'll...

She's lost and I...


Relax, lady.

Take it easy.


The easiest way

to find Susie

is to go to the police.

Well, where are the police?

Right there.

Right where?

Right down there

under the pier.

You're it!

Come, children.

You hear me, Sarah Jane?

Hot dogs!

Oh, boy!

Come on! Boy!

Hot dogs!

It might be the noise of

that old ocean, but it seems

to me I didn't hear thank you.

I was too hungry.

Thank you!

Thank you!

Honey, you gonna be all right.

I reported you.

Come on, Sarah Jane!

No, you're gonna stay

right here.


Else how

your mama gonna find you?

Susie! Oh, Susie!

Oh, my baby! Oh,

I thought you were lost.

Thank you, Officer.

Thank you very much.

And thank you for being

so kind, Mrs...


I'm Lora Meredith.

I've never been

so frightened in my life.

One moment I had her,

and the next moment

she was gone.

Thank Mrs. Johnson

for being so nice.

Thank you!

And say good-bye

to the little girl.

Good-bye? Now?

But, darling, we have

to go back to the city.

But we wanna play!


Please, Mommy,


Oh, all right.

But only for a little while.

Come on, Sarah Jane!

You're it!

You're it!

You're it!

You're it!

Susie doesn't have many

children to play with

where we live.

I guess Sarah Jane's

kind of lonesome too.

They got along fine

right off.

Sarah Jane's a lovely child.

How long have you

taken care of her?

All her life.

Oh, I wish I had someone

to look after Susie.

A maid to live in?

Someone to take care

of your little girl?

A strong, healthy,

settled-down woman...

who eats like a bird

and doesn't care

if she gets no time off...

and will work real cheap?

Well, yes, if one exists.

Oh, someday.

Why not today?

I'm available.


Me. Annie Johnson.

You mean you'd

consider leaving that

lovely little girl?

Oh, I wouldn't be leaving her.

My baby goes where I go.

Sarah Jane

is your child?

Yes, ma'am.

It surprises most people.

Sarah Jane favors her daddy.

He was practically white.

He left before she was born.

Seems to me, Miss Meredith,

I'm just right for you.

You wouldn't have to pay

no wages. Just let me come

and do for you.

I couldn't do that.

I'd have to pay you,

and I... can't now.


I ought to knock

your blocks off.

I'll take care of it,

mister. I'll wham

the hides off both of them.

Susie! What are

you doing?

About time you showed up!

If your husband can't keep

these brats in line...

No use talking to her.

She not only spoils them,

she goes around losing them.

I don't know what

this is all about.

Mommy, look at his stomach.

It went up and down.

It was so funny.

He took our picture.

Will you send me one?

Me too.

Sure. Where?

Send it to Susan Meredith,

450 Prescott Place,

Apartment 32.

Never mind, dear.

See? I remembered.

Thank you.

And send her one too.

Where do you live, Sarah Jane?

Where do I live...

No place.

We'll find a place

come night, honey.

Come on, darling, we have

to go. Say good-bye to

Sarah Jane and Mrs. Johnson.


It was very nice

meeting you.

Same here.

And good luck,

Miss Meredith.

Mommy, I'm tired.

I know, baby.

I know.

I wanna go home too!

Come on, honey.

Thank you.

Mrs. Johnson.

Oh. Oh, come on.


I don't like

to mention it again, but

you must understand that...

this arrangement

can only be for tonight.

Oh, I understand,

Miss Lora.

There must be plenty of jobs

for a woman like you.

But people won't take in

a woman with a child.

And no matter what, I won't

be separated from my baby.

Hurry up, Mother.

I want to show Sarah Jane

my dolls!

Well, all right.

There's a little place

off the kitchen.

But you could, uh,

hardly call it a room.

Oh, it'll do

for Sarah Jane and me.

And the kitchen,

we can make use of that too.

I'll get you some

pillows and blankets.

Thank you.

Here, Sarah Jane,

you can have Nancy.

It's a present.

Mommy just got it for me.

I want that one.

Frieda's my friend.

I've had her all my life.




She took my doll!


Sarah Jane.

Where are your manners?

Now give it back.

I don't want the black one.

I'll take those.

It's been a long day

and they're both tired

and cranky.

Yes, Miss Lora.

Everything will be all right.

Come on, come on.

Come on.

I don't wanna

live in the back.

Why do we always have

to live in the back?

Shh, honey.

Thank you, Mr. McKinney.

Shh. Good-bye.


Good morning, darling.

Good morning,

Sarah Jane.

I want a kiss too.

Well, of course.

Annie said we had to be quiet

until you got up.

Now we can talk out loud.

Now we can even scream.


Children! What...

Oh, good morning,

Miss Lora.

Good morning.

How are you

this morning?

Just fine.

I'd love some coffee.

Well, Annie, you shouldn't

have done my laundry.

I like taking care

of pretty things.

Thank you.


Where did they come from?

The milkman was here

a minute ago.

I told him to leave

your regular order.

Oh, no. He didn't come

to leave my order. He stopped

doing that two weeks ago.

May I?

Thank you.

He wanted to collect

something on his bill.

Didn't say anything

Rate this script:5.0 / 1 vote

Eleanore Griffin

Eleanore Griffin (1904–1995) was an American screenwriter who worked in Hollywood. She is best known for co-writing the film Boys Town, which she won an Oscar for in 1938. Griffin worked on and wrote for over 20 different Hollywood films between 1937 and 1964. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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