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Of Human Bondage (1934)

Of Human Bondage Davis poseter.jpg

This is such a disconcerting film adaptation of Somerset Maugham’s most famous work:  Bette Davis’ performance as the peroxided, abusive Cockney waitress still startles and her chemistry with Leslie Howard is compelling. It’s shot so oddly – with all those pieces to camera – and the power of their driven love/hatred has twice the erotic power of anything more obvious so that it adds up to a rich and strange viewing experience.  Davis was widely expected to win the Academy Award but she wasn’t even formally nominated;  this, however, made her a star. Howard was a legendary swordsman and late in life Davis regretted that she was the only one of his leading ladies (allegedly) that didn’t succumb to his charms (which are admittedly elusive at this point in time). Lester Cohen adapted the novel and it was directed by John Cromwell (father of actor James) who would later be blacklisted.

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About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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