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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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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 story of a man who burnt up his soul for an idol cold as ice! See more »


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

20 July 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Escravos do Desejo  »

Box Office


$403,000 (estimated)

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?


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


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


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 »


Featured in Run If You Can (1988) See more »


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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User Reviews

You Dirty Swine!.. I Never Cared For You Not Once!
5 February 2005 | by (Brooklyn NY USA) – See all my reviews

**SPOILER ALERT** W. Somerset Maugham classic on film about a love obsessed young man who's abused hurt and humiliated by the object of his obsession to the point of losing everything he has only to find true love in the end under the most unusual circumstances.

Leslie Howard plays the role of Philip Carey a sensitive young artiest in Paris trying to make a living by selling his paintings. Told by a local art expert that his work is not at all good enough to be sold to the art going public Philip decides to go back to his native England and study medicine and become a physician in order to help others.

Philip being born with a club foot is very hypersensitive about his awkward condition and makes up for that by being a very pleasant and friendly person. One afternoon Philip is at a local café with a fellow medical student and spots pretty waitress Mildred Rogers, Bette Davis, and immediately falls in love with her. Mildred at first rebuffs the love-sick Philip but later realizing just what a sap he is takes advantage of his feelings for her. Mildred has him spend himself into poverty buying her gifts and taking her out to the theater every time she off from work. Phlip also falls behind on his studies, by paying so much attention towards Mildred, at the medical university and fails his final exams.

Going into hock buying an engagement ring for Mildred in an attempt to ask for her hand in marriage the cold hearted Mildred tells the startled Philip that she's already engaged to be married to Emil Miller, Alan Hale. It turns out that he's one of the customers at the café that she's always flirting with.

Philip broke and heart-sick slowly get his life back together and later retakes his medical exam and passes it and at the same time finds a new love in Nora, Fay Johnson, a writer for a local love magazine. Later to Philip's shock and surprise Mildred walks back into his life.

Mildred telling Philip that her husband Emil, who's child she's carrying, threw her out of the house has the kind and understanding Philip take her back at the expense of Nora who was very much in love with him. It later turns out that Mildred wasn't married to Emil but had a child out of wedlock by having an illicit affair with him! Emil it turns out was already married.

As before Mildred takes advantage of Philip's kind heart for her and her baby daughter, where he supports them with food medical attention and shelter, to the point where he again goes broke and can't continue his studies ending with her leaving Philip; after having a very heated and emotional encounter with him. Out on the streets with nowhere to go Philip is taken in by Mr. Athanly, Reginald Owens, who he once treated at the hospital and falls in love with his daughter Sally, Frances Dee.

Later Philip has his club foot corrected at the medical center and with the help of Mr. Athenly gets back to being a doctor. It's then when he encounters Mildred again who's really at the end of her rope. Dying of tuberculosis and having lost her daughter she's all alone with no one to look after her. Philip now well to do and respected in medical circles does all he can to help the sick and poor Mildred but in the end she succumbed to her illness and passes away.

Mildred had the love and devotion in Philip all those years that he was in love with her but choose to abuse him and have affairs with man who were just like her, cold unfeeling and selfish. In the end Mildred got back just what she gave to the kind and sensitive Philip: She became both unloved and alone. Philip found in the sweet and caring Sally everything that Mildred wasn't and in the end also found the true love that he was looking for all of his life.

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