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

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9780312605551: Born to Be Hurt: The Untold Story of Imitation of Life

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.

 

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About the Author:

Sam Staggs is the author of four film books, including Close-Up on Sunset Boulevard and When Blanche Met Brando: The Scandalous Story of “A Streetcar Named Desire”.  He has written for a variety of publications, including Vanity Fair and Architectural Digest. He lives in Dallas, Texas. 

From Publishers Weekly:

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 melodramas 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 Sirks subtly ironic direction, the movie, Staggs writes, is a florid valentine with a deaths-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 Hollywoods imitation of life can be. (Feb.)
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Staggs, Sam
Editorial: St. Martin's Griffin (2010)
ISBN 10: 0312605552 ISBN 13: 9780312605551
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Murray Media
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Descripción St. Martin's Griffin, 2010. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería P110312605552

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Staggs, Sam
Editorial: St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN 10: 0312605552 ISBN 13: 9780312605551
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Descripción St. Martin's Griffin. PAPERBACK. Estado de conservación: New. 0312605552 New Condition. Nº de ref. de la librería NEW7.1025217

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