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Of Human Bondage (1946)

TV-PG | | Drama | 20 July 1946 (USA)
A medical student with a club foot falls for a beautiful but ambitious waitress. She soon leaves him, but gets pregnant and comes back to him for help.

Director:

Edmund Goulding
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Paul Henreid ... Philip Carey
Eleanor Parker ... Mildred Rogers
Alexis Smith ... Nora Nesbitt
Edmund Gwenn ... Athelny
Patric Knowles ... Harry Griffiths
Janis Paige ... Sally Athelny
Henry Stephenson ... Dr. Tyrell
Marten Lamont Marten Lamont ... Dunsford
Isobel Elsom ... Mrs. Betty Athelny
Una O'Connor ... Mrs. Foreman
Eva Moore ... Mrs. Gray
Richard Aherne Richard Aherne ... Emil Miller (as Richard Nugent)
Doris Lloyd ... Landlady
Bill Kennedy ... Flanagan
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Storyline

A medical student with a club foot falls for a beautiful but ambitious waitress. She soon leaves him, but gets pregnant and comes back to him for help.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 July 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Anthropini douleia See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

In an exchange which had Warner Bros. loaning to RKO the services of Joan Leslie for The Sky's the Limit (1943) and John Garfield for The Fallen Sparrow (1943), Warners acquired the production rights to W. Somerset Maugham's classic novel, which RKO already had adapted to the screen in 1934, featuring memorable performances by Bette Davis and Leslie Howard. See more »

Connections

Version of Of Human Bondage (1934) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Bound by the critics
12 June 2013 | by tomsviewSee all my reviews

Of the three film versions of "Of Human Bondage" this is probably the least known. Critics at the time found it dull and compared it unfavourably with the 1934 version starring Bette Davis and Leslie Howard. On the contrary, I think that this version is more complex, more interesting and ultimately more satisfying than that earlier film.

All versions chart the course of the destructive, one-sided relationship between medical student Philip Carey, played here by Paul Henreid, and working class waitress Mildred Rogers played by Eleanor Parker. But after his self-esteem reaches its lowest ebb, two far more caring women enter his life, one he rejects almost as cruelly as he himself was rejected, while the other provides him with the happiness he has searched for.

For anyone who has read Somerset Maugham's novel, the film versions all share the same drawback; they only concentrate on one aspect of the novel - the unrequited and obsessive love of Philip Carey for Mildred Rogers. This is the most fascinating part of the novel to be sure, but it doesn't take place until about half way through the book. By the time it happens, we know a lot about Philip Carey - we have followed him from childhood, understand the sensitivity about his clubfoot, and identify with him totally. When he encounters Mildred Rogers and is rejected by her, we are as shocked as he is at the effect it has on his sense of self-worth and his life from that point on. No one has ever described the anguish that such a one-sided affair can unleash better than Maugham in this extraordinary novel - Sigmund Freud couldn't have done a more insightful job.

And therein lies the challenge for the filmmakers because they all want to leap straight into the Philip and Mildred affair; there is no real build up, we are only vaguely aware of the vulnerabilities, and even the vanities that have been nurtured in Philip that could lead him into so destructive a relationship.

With that said, after a slow start, this version of the story does become quite compelling. However it could have done without the narration, which doesn't even start until after Philip meets Mildred. The filmmakers should have worked a little harder to explain things without resorting to narration, which both the 1934 and 1964 versions managed to do.

Paul Henreid was too old for the part - it's almost as though he was going through mid-life crisis - and his accent needed explaining. Fortunately, he had a strong enough screen presence to carry it off.

Critics considered Eleanor Parker's performance weak when compared to Bette Davis's showier one in the 1934 version, but she handles it pretty well on the whole. She is possibly a little too strident, and like Davis struggled to deliver a decent Cockney accent. For anyone who has seen the 1964 version, it's interesting to compare her with Kim Novak who gave a very subdued performance, which didn't seem right at all. Possibly the forced, slightly neurotic quality in Parker's performance actually caught the spirit of Mildred Rogers all too well.

Although not without fault, this version of Maugham's great novel is better than the critics would allow, and is certainly a film that rewards at least one viewing.


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