Saturday, February 28, 2015

Of Human Bondage (1934)

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“Good riddance to bad rubbish.”

            There is a saying, I think it is a saying from somewhere, “All good stories are love stories.” Who said that I do not know, should I have put that in quotes I do not know. But anyway, sure, I can go along with that saying on some occassions. Most of the greatest stories in cinema history are (considered?) love stories: Casablanca, Gone with the Wind just to name two. Here is my thing with some love stories… they suck! Good god I am so against love stories. Chick flicks can eat it. Here I am, though, a movie blogger who has seen tons of classic films that are all basically love stories and I am saying they suck. I do not always love the films I see. I have a bad habit of when I get the sense that a classic film is going to be a boring love story in some way I whip out my phone and play a game on it or troll through Tumblr. I somewhat pay attention to the film I listen to it more than watch it. (Hey, ever wonder why some of my posts are terrible? There’s the reason! Or one of the reasons why) Also I suffer from ADHD as soon as I feel something is boring my mind wanders so badly.
            For today’s film I have watched Of Human Bondage. I think it is supposed to be a love story and it was terrible. There was no love only hate!  Maybe hate is too strong. There was annoyingness. Because of all this hate or annoyingness my ADHD riddled mind walked away almost right from the moment Bette Davis walked on the screen. Here is why the story made my mind talk a walk.
            Philip Carey (Leslie Howard) was living in France trying to make it as a painter. His dreams of becoming an artist were dashed after he was told he had no talent or intelligence for creating art. He is more upset about being told the truth since his career choices are limited due to having a clubbed foot.
            Philip moves back home to London. He decides to attend medical school. His friend Harry (Reginald Denny) takes him out for dinner one night. Their waitress at the restaurant is Mildred Rogers (Davis). Philip is very taken with Mildred. He goes back to the restaurant and waits for her all day. As he waits he draws her portrait. When Mildred comes to him she sees the drawing. Philip asks her to meet him for dinner when she is done. It is obvious that Philip is more in love with Mildred than she is with him. She toys with him the whole night. Another night he wants to take her to the theater. Mildred said she would go with him but when he sees her at the restaurant she tells Philip she is not going with him anymore.
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            Sometime later Philip sees Mildred and they go out for dinner. He wants to marry her but she tells him she is engaged to someone new. Philip is heartbroken. He eventually moves on to a woman named Norah who is sweet and kind to him. She knows that there is someone else on his mind. That someone else is Mildred and she has come back into his life. This time she is trouble. Mildred tells Philip that her husband has left her because she is going to have a baby. Mildred does everything she can to play to Philip’s desire for her by trying to get him to propose marriage to her. Philip does not want to so he goes to the man who Mildred said she had been married to. The man says that they were never married he already has a wife and child. Now Philip feels he must stay with Mildred and leaves Norah.
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            A few months later, Philip, Mildred, and his friend Harry go out for the night. The entire time Mildred and Harry flirt and do not even acknowledge Philip. Philip is worried that Harry has fallen for Mildred. Harry lets his friend know that he does not have any feelings for Mildred. The next day Mildred goes on about how she loves Harry. Philip tries to tell her that Harry does not love her but she counters his argument with a letter from Harry about how he loves her.
            Over time Harry has fallen out with Mildred. He has moved three times but she always manages to find and stay outside his door. At school Harry tries to tell him that he no longer loves Mildred and they no longer see each other. Philip does not want to hear anything from him and just walks away.
            At the hospital Philip is in charge of a patient who has nine children. The patient’s one daughter Sally (Frances Dee) comes to see him. Sally is beautiful and kind and Philip falls for her. The patient invites him over to his home for dinner. Throughout dinner Philip and Sally cannot keep their eyes off of each other.
            Mildred again comes back into Philip’s life and again makes a huge mess of things. His uncle had sent him bonds to help him out with paying for school. Mildred opened the letter to see if it was from another woman. Later on Philip tells her he does not love her and wants her out of his life (well, kind of, at least that what it sounded like to me. This is when my attention just had it). Before she leaves Mildred takes the bonds and burns them.
            Since Mildred burned the bonds Philip had to drop out of medical school. Before he leaves the school Harry operates his clubbed foot. Sally is there for a while to help him out in the hospital. Philip tries to look for a job but no one will hire him. He goes to see Sally and her father. Her father has Philip stay with them until he can get his bearings and offers Philip a job in his store.
            Mildred manages to find a way to contact Philip through one of his school friends. She is living in squalor in a rundown apartment. Her baby died the year before. She wanted Philip to come by and take a look at her. She has a bad cough. Philip’s diagnosis for Mildred is not good she does not have long to live.
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            Philip’s life eventually gets back on track when his uncle passes away and leaves him money. He goes back to medical school and graduates. He hears there is a case that has come in and wants to see the patient. Harry and another student stop Philip from going into the room. The patient has died. On a piece of paper Philip sees the patient was Mildred. Philip had planned to go on a trip to Australia and when he came back he was going to marry Sally. He changes his mind now that Mildred has died. He explains his decision to Sally and that he wanted to go away before to get away from Mildred and now that she is gone he just wants to be with Sally.
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            Of Human Bondage kind of killed me after a while. I basically watched the film for Frances Dee. I adore Frances Dee and will watch anything she is in even if she is in the film for like two seconds. Let’s just say that Dee is my Old Hollywood girl crush. She just never disappoints me in whatever I have seen her in. I really like Reginald Denny and I liked him even more as Harry because Harry was a playboy and it was so weird to see Denny as a playboy. He was usually the typical proper English gentleman. Bette Davis I can only handle in small doses. Apparently Mildred Rogers was her break through role. I do not see how that could be but like I said “apparently”. I thought she was crap as Mildred. Every time she opened her mouth with that awful cockney accent I cringed. Leslie Howard is beyond annoying. He annoys me so bad no matter what I have seen him in. The whole film was just an annoyance. There was no love between any of the characters. Well, ok, there was between Sally and Philip and that was it. I think if the actors in the leads had been different I would not have minded the annoyingness of the characters. Maybe they would not even have been so annoying if they had been played by different actors.  

            Unless you really like Pre-Codes or anyone in the cast there is no reason to sit through Of Human Bondage.  I will say Of Human Bondage set a record for fastest time it took for my mind wander out of boredom.
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