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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.



(screen play), (from the novel by)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »



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Director: Anatole Litvak
Stars: Bette Davis, Charles Boyer, Jeffrey Lynn


Complete credited cast:
Reginald Sheffield ...
Desmond Roberts ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Charles Coleman ...
(scenes deleted)
Chimneysweep (scenes deleted)
Pat Somerset ...
(scenes deleted)


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


The greatest novel of the twentieth century now brings to the screen humanity's tortured heart-cry! See more »


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

20 July 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Escravos do Desejo  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(R C A Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »


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


Thorpe Athelny: Don't stand by my chair in order to make eyes at him.
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Hesitation Blues
(1915) (uncredited)
Written by Billy Smythe, Scott Middleton and Art Gillham
Played when Mildred is tearing up the apartment
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

IMDb Votes Conclude...
6 September 2008 | by (Chicago) – See all my reviews

...that the Bette Davis version of this film was better than the Kim Novak version.

Despite all of the other comments written here, I really prefer the Bette Davis version, even though the Novak version has a more coherent story line.

However: Davis' Mildred's raw emotions seem to me to be more apt to a sluttish girl who seems easily to become a prostitute.

And it is those raw emotions that constitute *part* of what the poor doctor falls in love with. He has emotions of despair, of failure, of "otherness" - strong emotions that he represses. Davis' Mildred, on the other hand, displays her emotions immediately and without censure. She has no feelings of despair, or of failure, or of "otherness"; rather, she is merely surviving as a poor Cockney woman in the Victorian era.

Novak's portrayal was a more vulnerable Mildred than was Davis', almost through the the whole movie. Davis' Mildred was **never** vulnerable until she actually had to go to the doctor and beg for assistance. And when he reviles her - for her method of keeping body and soul together, and for continually taking advantage of his love for her - she unleashes arguably the most passionate repudiation of snobbish holier than thou attitude ever seen on screen: "I wiped my mouth! I WIPED MY MOUTH!!" Novak's vulnerability was excellent. Davis' realism was monumental.

IMDb votes concur!

14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Just opinion, but: I don't think Davis was that fantastic. cakeandtea
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