Of Human Bondage (1934)


“Good riddance to bad rubbish.” – Mildred Rogers

Number of Times Seen – 1 (21 Dec 2019)

Brief Synopsis – An aspiring artist trying to find his place in the world falls deeply in love with a waitress who uses his infatuation to her advantage and takes control of his life.

My Take on it –  This is another film that I knew nothing about before coming across it during my recent quest to watch all films that have received Oscar nominations in the acting categories.

The story is quite engaging and works really well due to the timelessness pf the story since it could be told during any age or time in history and still work.

Leslie Howard and Bette Davis are both superb in this film and make us believe the actions and reactions of their characters to all that goes on around them.

The film gives us a view of how much power a person can possibly wield when they have a lover who is infatuated with them.

They can get this person to do so much even when some of those requests are irrational and strange since they make the lover feel as if they are in a form of slavitude or bondage within this relationship.

The story is told and presented really competently and helps make us care so much about these characters especially when they find themselves in situations where it seems that they can break free yet do all they can to stay in this quite unhealthy relationship.

This helps create hope on the side of the viewer that the characters will find a way to freedom and a calm sense of mind.

unfortunately tho, they past and various feelings of commitment and memories make they stay and continue this problem.

Bette Davis was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress for her work here and this is due to the fact that her performance is extremely powerful and effective as this character.

Bottom Line – Such an engaging film that works so well largely due to the performances by Howard and Davis. The story is quite timeless and shows the kind of power that someone can have over a lover that can cause them to make irrational and strange decisions due to this form of “bondage”. The story works really well and says enthralling from start to finish largely due to the way that the characters who feel a duty to be in bondage give us constant hope that they will find the will be break free and move on to a healthier and happy life, yet life and past memories keep getting in the way of that.  Davis was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress as a write in candidate and was definitely deserving of that accolade because she truly is superb in this performance. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – 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 its 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.(From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10)

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2 thoughts on “Of Human Bondage (1934)

  1. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Actress – Oscars 1934 | MovieRob

  2. Pingback: MovieRob Monthly Roundup – December 2019 | MovieRob

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