7.3/10
4,851
88 user 38 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:

Writers:

(screen play), (from the novel by)
Reviews

Watch Now

With Prime Video

WATCH NOW
ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Dangerous (1935)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An alcoholic actress who is considered a dangerous jinx is rehabilitated, but she then shows that she's as dangerous as ever.

Director: Alfred E. Green
Stars: Bette Davis, Franchot Tone, Margaret Lindsay
Jezebel (1938)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In 1850s Louisiana, a free-spirited Southern belle loses her fiancé due to her stubborn vanity and pride, and vows to win him back.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, George Brent
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Popular and beautiful Fanny Trellis is forced into a loveless marriage with an older man, Jewish banker Job Skeffington, in order to save her beloved brother Trippy from an embezzlement charge, and predictable complications result.

Director: Vincent Sherman
Stars: Bette Davis, Claude Rains, Walter Abel
Dark Victory (1939)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A young socialite is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, and must decide whether or not she'll meet her final days with dignity.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Bette Davis, George Brent, Humphrey Bogart
The Letter (1940)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The wife of a rubber plantation administrator shoots a man to death and claims it was self-defense, but a letter in her own hand may prove her undoing.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, James Stephenson
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

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
Stars: Paul Henreid, Eleanor Parker, Alexis Smith
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Old friends Kit Marlowe and Millie Drake adopt contrasting lifestyles: Kit is a single, critically acclaimed author while married Millie writes popular pulp novels.

Director: Vincent Sherman
Stars: Bette Davis, Miriam Hopkins, Gig Young
The Star (1952)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A washed-up movie queen finds romance, but still desires a comeback.

Director: Stuart Heisler
Stars: Bette Davis, Sterling Hayden, Natalie Wood
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A waitress, a hobo and a bank robber get mixed up at a lonely diner in the desert.

Director: Archie Mayo
Stars: Leslie Howard, Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

The ruthless, moneyed Hubbard clan lives in, and poisons, their part of the deep South at the turn of the twentieth century.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, Teresa Wright
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A duchess' irrational behavior toward the governess of her children triggers tragic events that will change her family's lives forever.

Director: Anatole Litvak
Stars: Bette Davis, Charles Boyer, Jeffrey Lynn
Marked Woman (1937)
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A crusading DA persuades a clip joint "party girl" to testify against her mobster boss after her innocent sister is accidentally murdered during one of his unsavory "parties".

Directors: Lloyd Bacon, Michael Curtiz
Stars: Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Lola Lane
Edit

Cast

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

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

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 July 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Escravos do Desejo  »

Box Office

Budget:

$403,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(R C A Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

W. Somerset Maugham's original novel runs to 600 pages. The film version is a trim 82 minutes. 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

Spoofed in Daria: Of Human Bonding (2000) 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

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Unleashing the Soul of Great Actor by Withholding an Oscar
25 September 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Every motion picture Bette Davis stars in is worth experiencing. Before Davis co-stars with Leslie Howard in "Of Human Bondage," she'd been in over a score of movies. Legend has it that Davis was 'robbed' of a 1935 Oscar for her performance as a cockney-speaking waitress, unwed mother & manipulative boyfriend-user, Mildred Rogers. The story goes that the AFI consoled Davis by awarding her 1st Oscar for playing Joyce Heath in "Dangerous." I imagine Davis' fans of "Of Human Bondage" who agree with the Oscar-robbing legend are going to have at my critique's contrast of the 1934 film for which the AFI didn't award her performance & the 1936 film "Dangerous," performance for which she received her 1st Oscar in 1937.

I've tried to view all of Bette Davis' motion pictures, TV interviews, videos, advertisements for WWII & TV performances in popular series. In hindsight, it is easy to recognize why this film, "Of Human Bondage," gave Davis the opportunity to be nominated for her performance. She was only 25yo when the film was completed & just about to reach Hollywood's red carpet. The public began to notice Bette Davis as a star because of her performance in "Of Human Bondage." That is what makes it her legendary performance. But, RKO saw her greatness in "The Man Who Played God," & borrowed her from Warners to play Rogers.

I'm going to go with the AFI, in hindsight, some 41 years after their astute decision to award Davis her 1st Best Actress Oscar for "Dangerous," 2 years later. By doing so, the AFI may have been instrumental in bringing out the very best in one of Hollywood's most talented 20th century actors. Because, from "Of Human Bondage," onward, Davis knew for certain that she had to reach deep inside of herself to find the performances that earned her the golden statue. Doubtless, she deserved more than 2 Oscars; perhaps as many as 6.

"Dangerous" provides an exemplary contrast in Davis' depth of acting characterization. For, it's in "Dangerous" (1936) that she becomes the greatest actor of the 20th century. Davis is so good as Joyce Heath, she's dead-center on the red carpet. Whereas in "Of Human Bondage," Davis is right off the edge, still on the sidewalk & ready to take off on the rest of her 60 year acting career.

Perhaps by not awarding her that legendary Oscar in 1935, instead of a star being born, an actor was given incentive to reach beyond stardom into her soul for the gifted actor's greatest work.

It is well known that her contemporary peer adversary was Joan Crawford; a star whose performances still don't measure up to Davis'. Even Anna Nicole Smith was a 'star'. Howard Stern is a radio host 'star', too. Lots of people on stage & the silver screen are stars. Few became great actors. The key difference between them is something that Bette Davis could sense: the difference between the desire to do great acting or to become star-struck.

Try comparing these two movies as I have, viewing one right after the other. Maybe you'll recognize what the AFI & I did. Davis was on the verge of becoming one of the greatest actors of the 20th century at 25yo & achieved her goal by the time she was 27. She spent her next 50 plus years setting the bar so high that it has not been reached . . . yet.

Had the AFI sent her the message that she'd arrived in "Of Human Bondage," Davis' life history as a great actor may have been led into star-struck-dom, instead.


33 of 47 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page