Of Human Bondage (1934)

Of Human Bondage


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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

The first of three film versions of Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage stars Leslie Howard as sensitive, clubfooted artist-cum-med student Philip Carey. Despite his yearnings for the finer things in life, Carey cannot extricate himself from a mutually destructive relationship with sluttish waitress Mildred Rogers (Bette Davis). After an incredible series of emotional disasters, Carey finally finds happiness in the arms of Sally Altheny (Frances Dee). The industry buzz in 1934 indicated that … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Lester Cohen, Lester W. Cohen
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 8, 2001



as Philip Carey

as Mildred Rogers

as Sally Athelny

as Norah

as Thorpe Athelny

as Harry Griffiths

as Emil Miller

as Dr. Jacobs

as Dr.Jacobs

as Landlady
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Of Human Bondage

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (2)

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Strictly so-so on its own terms, but invaluable as Bette Davis' star-launching platform.

Full Review… | June 20, 2008
Film Threat

The first and best of three Hollywood versions of Maugham's novel boasts a grand dramatic performance from Bette Davis, who scandalously was snubbed by the Academy; she was a write-in candidate for the Oscar.

Full Review… | July 23, 2007

Dated but compelling drama

August 10, 2004
Film Journal International

Davis either grates or invigorates; either way, the rest of the movie hangs dully around her.

August 14, 2003
Nick's Flick Picks

Audience Reviews for Of Human Bondage

The electrifying, larger than life persona of Bette Davis and her big swollen eyes are enough to captivate Leslie Howard's poor but well meaning sap, and film lovers like myself too. A compelling melodrama about unrequited love, obsession, excess of candidness, and punishment.

Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer


I must have watched the worst copy of this going - one of those $2 store jobs with scratchy sound and picture, lines, blotches, you name it, and I still found this compelling. I can only imagine what it must be like to watch it properly. I think I will have to track down a decent copy online and I must check the book out too as apparently that was much more detailed.
Bette Davis plays a horrible, but beautiful woman with a grating English accent (other reviewers seemed to think it was accurate). I could see how Philip kept falling for her even though she was absolutely heinous! The scene where she is screaming at him that she wiped her mouth every time he kissed her was especially awful.
This would be one of my favourite older movies so far, can't believe I had this dvd for about two years and only just watched it!

Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

Of Human Bondage kind of epitomizes everything I dislike about movies from the mid-30s. The pacing is slow, its overdramatic and feels just kind of... hollow overall. I know the point of this movie is to watch Leslie Howard's simp of a character step in the same pile of dog shit over and over but despite a pretty quick running time it gets old sort of fast. And despite a very wobbly cockney accent, Bette Davis plays a magnificent See You Next Tuesday and her physical transformation into a shitball hag was great. (And a drag at the same time because Davis was an absolute doll when she was young.) Nothing amazing but not horrible.

Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

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