I've read about Imitation of Life
, but somehow I missed the memo that it'd also been remade 25 years later. It's kind of interesting how the plot changed over a quarter of a century.
1934 -- Two widowed mothers, Bea (who is white) and Delilah (who is black), combine their super-powers (delicious maple syrup and an awesome pancake recipe) to start a really successful business. This plot alone would have raised some eyebrows, but as the years go by, Delilah's daughter, who is light-skinned, decides to pass as white and basically disowns her mom, which breaks her mom's heart. Delilah dies, but not before planning and paying for her own lavish funeral. Meanwhile, Bea's daughter falls for her mom's fiancee; the engagement ends up broken off.
1959 -- Lora is a foxy Broadway hopeful and Annie is Lora's daughter's nanny. Already, this is a lot less interesting. Anyway, Lora makes it big, but sacrifices her relationship with her daughter, who again falls for the fiancee. This time, the engagement stays. Meanwhile, Annie's daughter also decides to pass, gets beaten up by Troy Donahue and again breaks her mom's heart; this time, I would assume Lora pays for the awesome funeral.
So, a really thought-provoking storyline is reworked to make the white woman more glamorous and the black woman less important to anyone's success. But what I find most interesting is that in 1934, the daughter who decides to pass as white was actually played by a light-skinned African-American woman, whereas in 1959, she was played by an actress of Mexican-Jewish heritage. Not quite the same thing!Tangentially related, but my brain always confuses Phil Donahue with Troy Donahue, and Troy Donahue with Tab Hunter. This leads to an interesting sequence. "I can't believe Phil Donahue was in Damn Yankees. But wait, he's gay? No, he's married to Rachel's mom from Friends! Wait, why do I know that?"