7.2/10
5,566
96 user 35 critic

Of Human Bondage (1934)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 20 July 1934 (USA)
A young man finds himself attracted to a cold and unfeeling waitress who may ultimately destroy them both.

Director:

John Cromwell

Writers:

Lester Cohen (screen play), W. Somerset Maugham (from the novel by)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Leslie Howard ... Philip Carey
Bette Davis ... Mildred Rogers
Frances Dee ... Sally Athelny
Kay Johnson ... Norah
Reginald Denny ... Harry Griffiths
Alan Hale ... Emil Miller
Reginald Sheffield Reginald Sheffield ... Cyril Dunsford
Reginald Owen ... Thorpe Athelny
Desmond Roberts ... Dr. Jacobs
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Charles Coleman ... (scenes deleted)
Frank Mills ... Chimneysweep (scenes deleted)
Pat Somerset ... (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Abandoning artistic ambitions, sensitive and club-footed Philip Carey enrolls in medical school and falls in love with a waitress Mildred Rogers. She rejects him, runs off with a salesman and returns unmarried and pregnant. Philip gets her an apartment and they become engaged. Mildred runs off with another medical student. Philip takes her back again when she returns with her baby. She wrecks his apartment and burns the securities he needs to pay tuition. He gets a job as a salesman, has surgery on his foot, receives an inheritance, and returns to school where he learns Mildred is dying. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Love That Lifted a Man to Paradise......and Hurled Him Back to Earth Again See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 July 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Escravos do Desejo See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$403,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (R C A Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One reaction RKO executives never expected to hear at the preview was laughter. After watching the film several times, they felt the Max Steiner score was to blame, and the composer wrote a new one that included a motif for each of the principal characters. See more »

Goofs

Athelny's mustache and beard are almost coming unstuck in the scene in which he is eating dinner. See more »

Quotes

Mildred Rogers: [after having her baby] Funny looking little thing, isn't it? I can't believe it's mine.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Practice: Of Human Bondage (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Hesitation Blues
(1915) (uncredited)
Written by Billy Smythe, Scott Middleton and Art Gillham
Played when Mildred is tearing up the apartment
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Role She Fought For
30 October 2005 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

If Jack Warner had had his way, Bette Davis would have wound up playing all kinds of molls in various Warner Brothers gangster films. Of Human Bondage was a significant milestone in her career because she proved to everyone, including herself, that she was capable of so much more.

Like Frank Sinatra with Angelo in From Here to Eternity, Davis knew she was born to play the slatternly amoral Mildred from W. Somerset Maugham's classic novel. Though she rarely used false accents in her movie career after this, she got the Cockney speech pattern down perfect. Davis will keep you riveted to your seat with her performance her. And what a scandal it was that she wasn't nominated. I suspect some intrigue was at work there, possibly the brothers Warner who didn't want her to get a swelled head. Also she'd gotten this break through role at another studio so they weren't going to make a dime on it.

Two years later Leslie Howard and Bette Davis would team up again in The Petrified Forest. But what a contrast between the dreamy naive Gabby and Mildred. The same with the male leads. In The Petrified Forest, Leslie Howard is the world weary blasé Alan Squire. In Of Human Bondage, Howard's Philip Carey is a shy man with a deep inferiority complex because of his club foot. He clings to Mildred because even though she's degraded him, he feels he'll never find another attachment again.

For both the leads Of Human Bondage represented a considerable stretching of considerable talents. The two later screen versions are markedly inferior to this one.


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