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 Bette Davis was a shoe-in for an Academy Award for her savage portrayal of Mildred, but her home studio Warner Bros. failed to mount an adequate publicity campaign on Davis' behalf, allegedly because she'd made the film on loan-out to RKO and Warners wasn't about to heap praise upon a rival. It is now generally conceded that Davis' Oscar win for 1935's Dangerous was consolation for her losing the statuette in 1934. Long out of circulation due to the 1946 remake, the 1934 Of Human Bondage has since slipped into the public domain, and is now seen more often than either of the subsequent remakes (the last was in 1964). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Bette Davis' first Oscar nomination came with this performance. This is quintessential Bette Davis. All of her best known characteristics and finest talents shine in this astounding performance, especially her flashing 'Bette Davis eyes'. She plays a manipulating shrew (Mildred) who uses a hopelessly in-love Philip (Leslie Howard), callously taking advantage of the vulnerable man. She uses her wicked wiles and selfish games for her own interests to the very end. In one of cinemas' most memorable scenes ever, Davis delivers her "I never loved you!" speech. It is caustic and hurtful it is shocking, yet brilliantly played. You completely forget you are watching a movie. That's the power of Bette Davis. This is well worth a watch. Not for kids, of course.
The picture quality was awful. It wasn't the dvd it was the way the movie was filmed. There were parts at the beginning you could not see because of the glare. Found the dialogue forced and boring. Acting and the actors accents were great.