Of Human Bondage (1934)


Of Human Bondage (1934)Every time I think about Of Human Bondage (1934) I find that I am drawing comparisons between the one sided relationship between Rhett Butler and Scarlet O’Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939). However it takes Clark Gable‘s character the duration of the film to come to his senses. Unlike in here as the medical student Leslie Howard not half as long. And having more demons to overcome than to simply win the heart of the waitress Mildred (Bette Davis). A stronger man who has the ability to move on from his mistaken romance that nearly caused his future career as a doctor.

What could be mistaken for a British film Of Human Bondage (1934) has an almost completely british cast, with Davis putting on a convincing cockney accent as she takes on one of her first tpyical roles as the bitchy woman who fights back. Here the cold hearted waitress takes all she can get from her men who treat her better than she has been before. And she is slow to realise what she really has until its too late. Also in her first Oscar nominated role too, taking this film from being routine to a whole new level of performance, every time she appears on screen she owns the camera.

Whilst Howard takes on a more passive role that grows over the length of the film to realise what he really wants and has as he moves on from his lusting and dreaming to a more grounded relationship with a rivals daughter Sally (Frances Dee) who at times can see right through him.

Whilst the old flame of the waitress takes a downhill turn towards her dramatic demise from lung cancer. Life goes on for Philip (Leslie Howard) who overcomes his clubfoot to live a happier life. Even though he could lead a perfectly normal life with it, he feels dragged down by his ailment. Philip grows the most even though he really doesn’t show it, able to shake off and learn from his mistakes during his time at medical school to have a woman who loves him for who he is and not what he can do and give.

 

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2 responses

  1. Davis does own the scene in which, speaking directly to the camera, she delivers a series of insults to Howard. But a convincing Cockney accent? No.

    June 28, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    • thanks for the comment. She definitely was a scene stealer. I guess to the untrained ear she maybe alright, better than Dick Van Dykes though.

      June 29, 2013 at 9:11 pm

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