Based on Fannie Hurst’s novel and directed by Douglas Sirk, an actress and her African-American maid raise their daughters together as one of them attempts to pass for white.
Lora Meredith (Lana Turner) in New York at a crowded beach meets photographer Steve Archer (John Gavin) and black Annie Johnson (Juanita Moore) whose light-skinned 8-year-old daughter Sara Jane (Karin Dicker) has become friends with her 6-year-old daughter Susie (Terry Burnham). Lora gives them a place to live, and Annie becomes her maid. Lora is struggling to become an actress but is put off at first by the advances of the agent Allen Loomis (Robert Alda). The playwright David Edwards (Dan O’Herlihy) is impressed with her and puts her in his plays. Lora is romanced by Steve Archer (John Gavin) who goes into advertising. Ten years later Susie (Sandra Dee) falls in love with Steve. Sara Jane (Susan Kohner) is embarrassed by the skin color of her mother and leaves school to go on her own.
This soap opera previously filmed in 1934 updates the story into the 1950s when “colored” women often worked as maids in the homes of white families. This emotional drama reflects the difficult race relations which discriminate against African Americans while showing the sacrifices and contributions made by the black maid.