Of Human Bondage (1934) film review

One of my favorite films that I’ve always enjoyed watching of the immortally captivating English stage actor Leslie Howard was the 1934 American drama film Of Human Bondage, directed by John Cromwell and produced by Pandro S. Berman. Although I have yet to see other great classic films such as The Petrified Forest and It’s Love I’m After, I considered this timeless classic to be my pivotal start in the deeply passionate and immensely appreciative tribute to a truly consummate and gifted performer of the stage and silver screen. There were remakes of this classic film made in the years 1946 and 1964, but to be honest I’ve always considered the original 1934 film version to be one of the most poignant, profound and masterfully effective depictions of the classically beloved treasured 1915 novel of the same name by W. Somerset Maugham. For me, Of Human Bondage gave a candid and truly compelling look into the life of an individual and his passionate zealous contemplation with a cold callous woman. Though widely revered by critics as Bette Davis’ signature start as a bonafide film star, Leslie Howard delivered an equally brilliant, triumphant and exceptionally cinematic performance as the sensitive, club footed aspiring artist Philip Carey- a warm, loving and deeply compassionate Englishman with a heart of gold who thirsts for a need and desire to be loved and appreciated for who he was, as a gentle selfless human being with goals and dedicated aspirations of becoming a doctor. Philip falls passionately and deeply in love with Bette Davis’ enigmatic characterization of tearoom waitress Mildred Rogers, a vulgar, manipulative and self centered woman who belittles him and constantly stirs the fervous passions and intensely emotional disturbances from him. Although he embarks on an emotional rollercoaster that consisted of being hopelessly in love and developing an unquenchable desire and lustful passion for Mildred, Philip eventually is able to overcome his toxic ardorous obsession with her and the vidicative and deeply alluring spell that she casted in his heart! The wonderful and equally eminent supporting cast includes Reginald Denny as Harry Griffiths, Alan Hale, Sr as Emil Milner, Tempe Pigott as Philip’s landlady Agnes Hollet, Reginald Owen as Thorpe Athelny, Reginald Sheffield as Cyril Dunsford, Kay Johnson as Norah the attractive and considerate romance writer who endures a heartbreaking end with Philip’s relationship after he becomes overwhelmed with the unwanted reluctance of caring for Mildred financially and emotionally and the dramatic toll that it has on his personal life and his deeply conflicted love for her, and finally Frances Dee as Sally Athelny: a warm, passionate, selfless, tenderhearted human being who becomes the love of Philip’s life as he finds true love and happiness in their blissful, rewarding, carefree and genuinely compassionate life together. With an impressive screenplay by Lester Cohen and a captivating film score from renowned Austrian film composer Max Steiner, Of Human Bondage remains to become one of the most respected, cherished, beloved and highly appreciated classic film gems of the 20th Century and a film that I’m deeply honored to have enjoyed watching- becoming one of my all time favorites of Leslie Howard! Of Human Bondage truly was” The love that lifted a man to Paradise….. and hurled him back to Earth again!! Of Human Bondage’s profile film pic

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