7.2/10
5,546
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)
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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 story of a man who burnt up his soul for an idol cold as ice! 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 »
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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

Katharine Hepburn, Ann Sheridan and Irene Dunne all turned down the part of Mildred. See more »

Goofs

While Bette Davis says "Funny looking little thing, isn't it? I can't believe it's mine." At 43:18 we see the 'Newborn' baby on the bed. But the baby is already at least 3 months old. See more »

Quotes

Mildred Rogers: You cad, you dirty swine! I never cared for you, not once! I was always makin' a fool of ya! Ya bored me stiff; I hated ya! It made me SICK when I had to let ya kiss me. I only did it because ya begged me, ya hounded me and drove me crazy! And after ya kissed me, I always used to wipe my mouth! WIPE MY MOUTH!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Indie Sex: Censored (2007) 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

 
Unrequited Love, Betrayal and Sexual Obsession
1 May 2010 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

The clubfooted aspirant painter Philip Carey (Leslie Howard) is advised by an acquaintance to give-up his artistic ambition since he is a mediocre artist. He joins the medical school in London using his inheritance to pay the school and to have a comfortable life. When he meets the cold cockney waitress Mildred Rogers (Bette Davis) in a restaurant, the shy Philip has a crush on her but she rejects him. Philip stalks her and dates her; however the easy woman scorns him. When Philip proposes Mildred, she tells him that she is going to marry her lover Miller (Alan Hale), leaving the brokenhearted Philip obsessed for her. He tries to move on, dating the affectionate Norah (Kay Johnson) in an unrequited love. However, when Mildred returns alone and pregnant, Philip lodges them in his home. Sooner Mildred becomes lover of Philip's friend Reginald Denny (Harry Griffiths) and leaves Philip again. When Philip finds Mildred and her baby later abandoned on the street, he brings them home. Mildred unsuccessfully tries to seduce Philip but he loathes her; Mildred feels humiliated and wrecks his apartment and burns his savings, forcing Philip to quit the medical school. However his teacher offers to operate his feet first and Philip becomes a normal man. But he does not succeed to find a job and his life goes downhill fast until he meets a friend that helps him.

"Of Human Bondage" is an unpleasant romance about unrequited love, betrayal and sexual obsession. The restrictions of the moral code of the society in the 30's force the director and screenplay writer to be vague and open in many scenes, destroying the full understanding of the plot like, for example, the dialog between Sally and Philip in the last scene. I found a reasonable explanation in the IMDb Message Board from a user that read the novel. The good point is that there is no use of clichés and the story is not dated. I loved the performance of Bette Davis, but I am a great fan of this awesome actress therefore my opinion might be compromised. However, the nomination to the Oscar also corroborates with my comment. In Brazil, this movie was released on DVD by Continental Distributor. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Escravos do Desejo" ("Slaves of the Desire")


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