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Author: Subject: "Of Human Bondage", nice old movie from 1934.

Peach Extraordinaire





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  posted on 7/10/2008 at 01:20 PM

Alan Hale Jr.




Alan Hale Sr.




Betty Davis and Leslie Howard in "Of Human Bondage", 1934.

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Recently I got a vhs copy of the 1934 movie "Of Human Bondage". The movie stars that you would know were Betty Davis, Leslie Howard from "Gone With the Wind." and I just googled to find out that the Alan Hale in the movie is actually Alan Hale Sr and not the Alan Hale we knew as the Skipper on Gilligan's Island.

Right off this movie made me wish that mom was still alive to view it. She always thought Leslie Howard was a heartthrob. I think I am mature enough now to understand the qualities she was seeing in Howard's acting.


The movie is based on a novel by, hope I remember this right, Somerset Maugham. The story is simply that Howard was born with a club foot, his left foot. He walked sideways on that foot until he had surgery later in the film to correct the deformity.


The film is about human LOVE and it addresses how men and women are hopelessly tied to people who do not love them and who eventually treat them very bad. This was Howard's plight in the film. He met the Betty Davis character when she was waiting tables. He quickly fell in love and Betty could have cared less. Betty was a gold digger, a real nitwit and overall very shallow and immature. She had babies I think with two other men. The men always put Betty to the curb and Howard would come to the rescue financially, first with an apt. and later letting her sleep with her baby in his room, in an apt. Howard was in medical school planning to be a doctor. Betty later destroyed Howard's medical books and burned his MONEY in a fit of rage, since Howard would not now LOVE her.


The film also chronicles Howard's relationships. He dumped one woman who loved him for Betty and then almost lost another, who I think he got pregnant, but the film was seemed vauge to me addressing Howard's fatherhood.


In the end it seems, because I couldn't read the personal letters that were held up to the camera, Howard gave Betty cash to go to the doctor or something. She came to him SICK with I am guessing tuberculosis. I don't think they had a cure for that then, and maybe there is no cure now, at least I don't think there is for some strains.


The end of the film shows an emaciated Betty D. dying of tuberculosis. She is sent to the hospital but the cause was already lost. Betty D's character died and then Howard finally saw the LIGHT or the BEAUTY of the 20 year old woman who currently loved him.


The movie is about the STRONG bond of love and how it is usually ONE person LOVING the other person SO much more than the other.


The film was not great quality at all, but I'll tell you that I found this old movie to be a first class GEM. I was very touched by the honesty of the film, and the tragedy of the human personality. Of course the author of the book is more to be praised since he, or is it she, put this all down in a book.


I know probably very few will ever see this movie, but I just thought I'd post this in a thread. Maybe Mitzi or some other folks have actually read the book.











[Edited on 7/10/2008 by JaminRebel]

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 7/10/2008 at 01:29 PM
Have read the William Somerset Maugham book and seen the movie. Love them both. (I love most old Bette Davis movies.) Although Maugham did not stipulate that this story was autobiographical there are correlations to his own life.

 

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  posted on 7/10/2008 at 01:34 PM
Thanks for the correction on the author's name. I was lazy and didn't google that part. I figured someone would set me straight.


I also recently saw "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" which came out in about 1962. This too was another great movie. Very entertaining. This movie was actually sampled in the gory remake of "The House of Wax." I had a glimpse of the Baby Jane film from which to guide me when finding the movie.


I think it is Betty Davis too in "Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte". Another classic film.


I have one more movie in my collection on tape called Harvest Home, or something like that. It may be The Dark Secret of Harvest Home. This came out in the 70's. It's a shocker about how a small town would sacrifice a male for the harvest. Other males who tried to leave after having learned the truth about the cerimony were blinded, tounges cut out, etc. Excellent film that few people probably remember.









[Edited on 7/10/2008 by JaminRebel]

 

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  posted on 7/10/2008 at 01:44 PM
Some of my favorite Bette Davis movies are (notice - they're all her older movies):
Of Human Bondage ( )
Now Voyager
The Little Foxes
Jezebel
The Petrified Forest
The Old Maid
Dark Victory
All About Eve
Dangerous
The Letter

 

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  posted on 7/10/2008 at 01:57 PM
"Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" is one of my favorite movies. Bette Davis is just so wonderfully creepy.

I've never seen "Of Human Bondage," nor have I read the book, but Somerset Maugham is an incredible writer. The images he creates with his words are just stunning.

 

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  posted on 7/10/2008 at 02:07 PM
[quoteI've never seen "Of Human Bondage," nor have I read the book, but Somerset Maugham is an incredible writer. The images he creates with his words are just stunning.
"The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to Salvation is hard." I agree, blueeyedgirl - Maugham is a wonderful writer.

 

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  posted on 7/10/2008 at 02:07 PM
Lolasdeb, just for the sake of clarity, can you answer a few questions for me about OHB?


First, did the Betty Davis character succomb to tuberculosis?

Didn't Howard's character give her money to go to the doctor?

What was up with those travel brochures that Howard tore up at the end of the movie?

And didn't Howard get the final girl in the film pregnant?

That was his child, right?

 

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  posted on 7/10/2008 at 02:19 PM
quote:
Lolasdeb, just for the sake of clarity, can you answer a few questions for me about OHB?

First, did the Betty Davis character succomb to tuberculosis? Syphllis

Didn't Howard's character give her money to go to the doctor? He does give Mildred money throughout their 'relationship' (she basically uses him for finances)

What was up with those travel brochures that Howard tore up at the end of the movie? He decided to forego his travel plans and stay with Sally.

And didn't Howard get the final girl in the film pregnant? False alarm

That was his child, right? See above

 

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  posted on 7/10/2008 at 02:27 PM


Wow, syphillis. That grounds the sexual promiscuity theme and the fallen woman theme as well. That has much more power, but both diseases are tragic.


So Howard's character was going to travel to lose himself or to find his true love. The romance of travel.


Thanks. Key points in the film were lost because I couldn't read those personal letters.

The film quality was poor.

 

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