The Law of Contact

Of Human Bondage (July 20, 1934)

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Bette Davis and Leslie Howard in Of Human Bondage
 

Released July 20, 1934: (running time 1 hour and 23 minutes) This is the film that made Bette Davis a true movie star. She was passed over for a Best Actress Oscar nomination, although she was an unofficial write-in candidate with many votes.

Produced by Pandro S. Berman

Directed by John Cromwell

The Actors: Leslie Howard (Philip Carey), Bette Davis (Mildred Rogers), Frances Dee (Sally Athelny), Kay Johnson (Norah), Reginald Denny (Harry Griffiths), Alan Hale (Emil Miller), Reginald Sheffield (Cyril Dunsford), Reginald Owen (Thorpe Athelny), Desmond Roberts (Dr. Jacobs), Frank Mills (chimneysweep), Harry Allen (cabbie at the end of the film), Ray Atchley (J. Murphy), Frank Baker (policeman removing Mildred), Evelyn Beresford (the coughing lady), Ma Curly (charwoman), Douglas Gordon (hawker's voice), Frankie Grandetta (newsboy), Tommy Hughes (Englishman), Kenner G. Kemp (hospital intern), Nat Neahan (Slim), Tempe Pigott (Anges Hollett, Philip's landlady), Irene Rich (Mildred's baby), Adrian Rosley (Mons. Flourney, the Paris art teacher), Al Sullivan (Jimmy Gray)

 

The Law of Contact

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Love, Lust, the Limping Man, and the Girl Who Doesn’t Mind

Mildred, played by Bette Davis, is a pasty-faced pale blonde girl who is a waitress in a London restaurant. She is the very definition of the poor working girl with a dynamite body who is a cocky and callous, flirty tease who will never truly love a man. She will only use men for what they can give her today, tossing them to the curb when a new man offers more.

Legendary Leslie Howard is Philip Carey, a sensitive and loving man with a club foot that causes him to limp, and prevents him from dancing with his women. He is a failed artist who becomes a medical student, falling fatally in love with Mildred. He soon discovers that he is her ‘last’ choice for a playmate, but he will love her anyway, waiting for her return to him after her affairs with other men.

Mildred will flirt with Philip only when she needs something from him. Philip will be her slave when she need him, even knowing that she despises him. Philip is in bondage by his love for Mildred, but Mildred will only tease Philip when she needs something that her other men won’t give her.

Sometimes it seems that the worst people in the world find success and fortune while the best people in the world inherit nothing but poverty and despair. But we are all ‘farmers’ in life. If we plant stinkweed all our life, we cannot expect to live in a rose garden. But if we plant smiles and love, with enough patience and persistence, we will one day reap what we have planted, many times greater. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

Bette Davis
Bette Davis
Leslie Howard
Leslie Howard
Adrian Rosley
Adrian Rosley
Adrian Rosley
Adrian Rosley
Alan Hale
Alan Hale

Bette Davis
Bette Davis

Bette Davis
Bette Davis
Bette Davis and Leslie Howard
Bette Davis and Leslie Howard
Bette Davis
Bette Davis
Bette Davis
Bette Davis Eyes
Bette Davis
Bette Davis
pencil sketch of Bette Davis
pencil sketch of Bette Davis
Bette Davis pleads with Leslie Howard
Bette Davis pleads with Leslie Howard
Bette Davis
Bette Davis
Desmond Roberts
Desmond Roberts
Frances Dee
Frances Dee
Reginald Sheffield
Reginald Sheffield
Frances Dee
Frances Dee
Frances Dee
Frances Dee
Irene Rich
Irene Rich
Kay Johnson
Kay Johnson
Kay Johnson
Kay Johnson
Kay Johnson
Kay Johnson
Kenner G. Kemp, Leslie Howard
Kenner G. Kemp, Leslie Howard
Leslie Howard
Leslie Howard
Leslie Howard and Kay Johnson
Leslie Howard and Kay Johnson
Leslie Howard
Leslie Howard
Leslie Howard
Leslie Howard
Leslie Howard
Leslie Howard
Reginald Denny
Reginald Denny
Reginald Denny, Reginald Sheffield
Reginald Denny, Reginald Sheffield
Reginald Owen
Reginald Owen
Reginald Owen
Reginald Owen