Imitation of Life (1934) 111 min -- ONSITE at Mechanics' Institute | Mechanics' Institute

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Imitation of Life (1934) 111 min -- ONSITE at Mechanics' Institute
September 2022 CinemaLit: – The 1930s Get Real

Friday, September 30, 2022 - 6:00pm

Proof of vaccination and masks are required at onsite events.

September 30 - Imitation of Life, 1934, 111 minutes, directed by John M. Stahl, starring Claudette Colbert, Louise Beavers, and Warren William

Widow Bea's black maid Delilah makes delicious flapjacks. The two enterprising women go into business to great success. But life at home is troubled – Delilah's daughter is so light skinned she passes for white. Eventually she runs away. To further complicate, Bea and her daughter are in love with the same man. This popular tearjerker based on the 1933 Fannie Hurst novel was a Best Picture Academy Award nominee, and spawned a 1959 Lana Turner remake. Its place in the National Film Registry and on Time's 2007 list of "The 25 Most Important Films on Race" speaks to its continued high value as an American period piece.

 

CinemaLit / September 2022 – The 1930s Get Real

What are your impressions of American films in the 1930s? Gossamer musicals and Marx Brothers' slapstick? Stodgy romances burdened with wooden acting? Nonsense escapism from the Great Depression? That's all to be found. But dig deeper for a wealth of films of exceptional depth and complexity. September at CinemaLit is devoted to four films from four genres that are terrific entertainments AND fascinating historical and sociological relics. We've got a musical (Gold Diggers of 1933), screwball comedy (My Man Godfrey), comedy-drama (Politics), and social drama (Imitation of Life). And even as you're laughing or toe tapping, we've also got homelessness, political corruption, racism, bread lines, war, murder, unemployment, sexism, and the generation gap. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. (Image used with permission of Warner Bros)

 

Matthew Kennedy, CinemaLit’s curator, has written biographies of Marie Dressler, Joan Blondell, and Edmund Goulding. His book Roadshow! The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s, was the basis of a film series on Turner Classic Movies.

I don't have a favorite film,” Matthew says. "I find that my relationships to films, actors, genres, and directors change as I change over the years. Some don't hold up. Some look more profound, as though I've caught up with their artistry. I feel that way about Garbo, Cary Grant, director John Cassavetes, and others."

Classic films have historical context, something only time can provide,” Matt observes. “They become these great cultural artifacts, so revealing of tastes, attitudes, and assumptions.”

 

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CinemaLit Films

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The Good Earth (1937) 138 min -- ONSITE at Mechanics' Institute
October 2022 CinemaLit: – Exposing Chinese Stereotypes in Film, Co-sponsored by Chinese Historical Society of America

Oct 28 - 6:00pm

Enter the Dragon (1973) 102 min -- ONSITE at Mechanics' Institute
October 2022 CinemaLit: – Exposing Chinese Stereotypes in Film, Co-sponsored by Chinese Historical Society of America