IMDb > Of Human Bondage (1934)
Of Human Bondage
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Of Human Bondage (1934) More at IMDbPro »

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Lester Cohen (screen play)
W. Somerset Maugham (from the novel by)
View company contact information for Of Human Bondage on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
20 July 1934 (USA) See more »
The Love That Lifted a Man to Paradise......and Hurled Him Back to Earth Again
A young man finds himself attracted to a cold and unfeeling waitress who may ultimately destroy them both. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for Oscar. See more »
(41 articles)
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User Reviews:
Well thought in every detail - acting, editing and music See more (76 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Leslie Howard ... Philip

Bette Davis ... Mildred
Frances Dee ... Sally

Kay Johnson ... Norah

Reginald Denny ... Griffiths

Alan Hale ... Miller
Reginald Sheffield ... Dunsford

Reginald Owen ... Athelny
Desmond Roberts ... Dr. Jacobs
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Charles Coleman ... (scenes deleted)
Frank Mills ... Chimneysweep (scenes deleted)
Pat Somerset ... (scenes deleted)
Harry Allen ... Cabbie at End (uncredited)
Ray Atchley ... J. Murphy (uncredited)
Frank Baker ... Policeman Removing Mildred (uncredited)
Evelyn Beresford ... Coughing Lady (uncredited)
Jimmy Casey ... (uncredited)
Ma Curly ... Charwoman (uncredited)
Byron Fitzpatrick ... (uncredited)
Douglas Gordon ... Hawker (voice) (uncredited)
Frankie Grandetta ... Newsboy (uncredited)
Tommy Hughes ... Englishman (uncredited)
Kenner G. Kemp ... Hospital Interne (uncredited)
Billy Mills ... (uncredited)
Nat Neahan ... Slim (uncredited)
Tempe Pigott ... Agnes Hollett, Philip's Landlady (uncredited)
Irene Rich ... Baby (uncredited)
Adrian Rosley ... Mons. Flourney, Paris Art Teacher (uncredited)
Frank Schwab ... (uncredited)
Al Sullivan ... Jimmy Gray (uncredited)
Madeline Wilson ... Girl (uncredited)

Directed by
John Cromwell 
Writing credits
Lester Cohen (screen play)

W. Somerset Maugham (from the novel by)

Ann Coleman  dialogue (uncredited)

Produced by
Pandro S. Berman .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Max Steiner 
Cinematography by
Henry W. Gerrard (photographed by)
Film Editing by
William Morgan (edited by)
Art Direction by
Carroll Clark 
Van Nest Polglase 
Costume Design by
Walter Plunkett (costumes by)
Makeup Department
Mel Berns .... makeup department head (uncredited)
Dot Carlson .... hair stylist (uncredited)
Dotha Hippe .... hair stylist (uncredited)
Sam Kaufman .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Production Management
J.R. Crone .... unit manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Kenneth Holmes .... assistant director (uncredited)
Dewey Starkey .... assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
George Gabe .... props (uncredited)
Sound Department
Clem Portman .... recordist
Eddie Harman .... assistant sound recordist (uncredited)
Harold E. Stine .... boom operator (uncredited)
Robert Wise .... apprentice sound effects editor (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Vernon L. Walker .... photographic effects (as Vernon Walker)
Harry Redmond Jr. .... special effects (uncredited)
Harry Redmond Sr. .... special effects supervisor (uncredited)
Sally Sage .... stunt double: Bette Davis (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Robert De Grasse .... second camera operator (uncredited)
George E. Diskant .... second assistant camera (uncredited)
Guy Gilman .... gaffer (uncredited)
Alexander Kahle .... still photographer (uncredited)
George Marquenie .... best boy (uncredited)
Sam Redding .... grip (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Ethel Beach .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Tommy Clark .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
Music Department
Bernhard Kaun .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
Betty Goode .... script clerk (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
83 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Victor System)
Argentina:Atp | Australia:PG | Australia:G (DVD rating) | Canada:PG (Ontario) | Portugal:M/12 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (tv rating) | UK:PG (video rating) (1998) (2003) (2004) | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #53) | USA:TV-PG (TV rating)

Did You Know?

Bette Davis wanted the role of Mildred Rodgers because she thought it would be her breakout role after years of starring in films that were getting her nowhere. She begged Warner Brothers studio chief Jack L. Warner to let her out of her contract so she could make the film. He relented because he was sure she would fail, but when her performance sparked talk of an Oscar, Warner began a spite campaign by encouraging academy members not to vote for her. At the time, the voting campaigns and the tabulation of the results were handled by the heads of the academy (of which Warner had a membership) and it worked in his favor when Davis was left out of the Best Actress competition. Supporters of Davis, shocked by her omission, petitioned the academy for a write-in vote. She was added to the nominees as a write-in but she lost to Claudette Colbert for her performance in It Happened One Night (1934). As a result of this incident, write-in votes were henceforth disallowed. Also, as a result of Warner's coup, the academy decided to change it's voting practices and hand over the counting of the results to the independent accounting firm of PriceWaterhouse who still does the official counting to this day.See more »
Revealing mistakes: Athelny's mustache and beard are almost coming unstuck in the scene in which he is eating dinner.See more »
Mildred Rogers:Good riddance to bad rubbish.See more »
Movie Connections:
Hesitation BluesSee more »


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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
Well thought in every detail - acting, editing and music, 24 September 2007
Author: marko-157 from Slovenia

Reading web sites on Bette Davis one can find instances where authors claim that there is nothing special about her acting. I even found a site which claimed that Bette Davis' success was probably due to her luck. But Ms Davis films of 1934 tell quite the opposite. The most evident example are two films that she did only few weeks apart: Fog over Frisco and On Human Bondage. Characters she played in these movies, though both being negative, are quite different. Arlene in the former is a beautiful, glamorous and frivolous heiress and much more likable character than Mildred in the latter, which is a pale, uneducated and impudent Cockney waitress. Needless to say that Ms Davis played both characters very authentic and with the same enthusiasm. But even that is not all. The point is that the former role, which would be wished by most actresses of the day, was the one she was forced to play. The latter role, which seemed to most actresses as undesirable, career destroying role, was the one she fought for ferociously for months. And it was the latter role that launched her among the greatest stars. So there is no question that Ms Davis knew from the start what she was doing.

The film, which tells about a medical student Phillip Carey (Leslie Howard) which falls unhappily in love with Cockney waitress Mildred Rogers (Bette Davis), has a few week points, but many more strong ones. The story is simply too big to be told in mere 83 minutes. For example, it is quite unclear why refined student found any interest in an impudent waitress in the first place. Well, there is one scene in which we are exposed to Ms Davis captivating eyes, but this is when his emotions are already fully evolved. Nevertheless, the integrity of the story is preserved by superior acting from Howard and Davis as well as fantastic Steiner's music which tells tons of emotions even when we do not see characters' faces. In fact the film is amalgamated by Phillip's walking sequences showing him from the back supplemented with shuddering two-tone repetition. Every detail is well thought - Max Steiner wrote a beautiful leitmotif for each women in Phillip's life, which is consistently used through the film. And a beautiful scene in which we see Sally's face in front of calendar is one of the sweetest scenes I've ever seen exactly due to Francis Dee's breathtaking beauty (Ms Dee was by the way considered to be too beautiful to play leading role in Gone with a Wind) as well as Steiner's captivating music. Camera movements between the some scenes is also original and refreshing.

But my strongest objection is that events are presented too two-dimensionally, which induce viewer that Mildred is an ultimate slut. The most disgusting characters ought to be men which lure her into relationship, despite well knowing that they will abandon her after taking use of her, but they, curiously, finished portrayed as likable characters. After all, Mildred always - in her own specific, but still a honest way - lets Phillip know that she despises him and had no interest in him. Which he just refuses to hear. It is Phillips masochistic nature connected to his club foot and infantile experiences that is the principal reason of his love problem. He is enslaved to his club foot as much as to Mildred and perhaps has to be free of both to start a normal life. Of course, selfish and impudent Mildred, after discovering voluntary Phillip's bondage to her, did its own share to make his life hell. Even taking into account that she exploded after realizing that the bondage has loosen, it is less than clear why would she burn Phillip's money (Maugham intended different in his novel). After all, she could as well steal it and drunk gallons of champagne.

For modern standards the film is a bit outdated, but each subsequent time you watch it, you can reveal new interesting details due to superior acting, fascinating music and original editing, so it does deserve the highest possible mark.

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Did Philip and Mildred ever have sex? nutritionist
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