Of Human Bondage (1964 film)
Of Human Bondage is a 1964
1964 in film
The year 1964 in film involved some significant events.-Events:* January 29 - The film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is released....

Cinema of the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom has had a major influence on modern cinema. The first moving pictures developed on celluloid film were made in Hyde Park, London in 1889 by William Friese Greene, a British inventor, who patented the process in 1890. It is generally regarded that the British film industry...

 drama film
Drama film
A drama film is a film genre that depends mostly on in-depth development of realistic characters dealing with emotional themes. Dramatic themes such as alcoholism, drug addiction, infidelity, moral dilemmas, racial prejudice, religious intolerance, poverty, class divisions, violence against women...

 directed by Ken Hughes
Ken Hughes
Ken Hughes was a British film director, writer, and producer.-Personal history:Wife Charlotte Hughes living in LA...

. The MGM release, the third screen adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham
W. Somerset Maugham
William Somerset Maugham , CH was an English playwright, novelist and short story writer. He was among the most popular writers of his era and, reputedly, the highest paid author during the 1930s.-Childhood and education:...

's 1915 novel
Of Human Bondage
Of Human Bondage is a novel by W. Somerset Maugham. It is generally agreed to be his masterpiece and to be strongly autobiographical in nature, although Maugham stated, "This is a novel, not an autobiography, though much in it is autobiographical, more is pure invention." Maugham, who had...

, was written by Bryan Forbes
Bryan Forbes
Bryan Forbes, CBE is an English film director, actor and writer.-Career:Bryan Forbes was born John Theobald Clarke on 22 July 1926 in Queen Mary's Hospital, Stratford, West Ham, Essex , and grew up at 43 Cranmer Road, Forest Gate, West Ham, Essex .Forbes trained as an actor at the Royal Academy of...



After two unsuccessful years pursuing an art career in Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, clubfooted Philip Carey decides to study medicine. He meets and falls in love with Mildred Rogers, a low-class waitress who takes advantage of his feelings for her.

When she leaves him to marry another man, Philip falls in love with Nora Nesbitt, a writer who encourages him to complete his studies. Mildred returns, pregnant and abandoned by her husband, and Philip takes her in and cares for her, ending his relationship with Nora.

While staying with Philip, Mildred has an affair with his best friend Griffiths, and when Philip confronts her, she tells Philip she's repulsed by him and walks out.

After earning his degree, Philip becomes an intern at a London hospital. He learns Mildred is working as a prostitute
Prostitution is the act or practice of providing sexual services to another person in return for payment. The person who receives payment for sexual services is called a prostitute and the person who receives such services is known by a multitude of terms, including a "john". Prostitution is one of...

 and seeks her out at the brothel
Brothels are business establishments where patrons can engage in sexual activities with prostitutes. Brothels are known under a variety of names, including bordello, cathouse, knocking shop, whorehouse, strumpet house, sporting house, house of ill repute, house of prostitution, and bawdy house...

 where she's living with her ailing child.

He takes the two under his wing, but once again Mildred leaves him. When he finally finds her in a clinic for the indigent, he discovers her child has died and Mildred, in the advanced stages of syphilis
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. The primary route of transmission is through sexual contact; however, it may also be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy or at birth, resulting in congenital syphilis...

, dies in her spurned lover's arms.

Production notes

Henry Hathaway
Henry Hathaway
Henry Hathaway was an American film director and producer. He is best known as a director of Westerns, especially starring John Wayne.-Background:...

 began as director but bowed out shortly after production began. Screenwriter Bryan Forbes then briefly tackled the job of directing before the assignment fell to Ken Hughes.

The first screen adaptation of Maugham's novel, made thirty years prior, starred Leslie Howard
Leslie Howard (actor)
Leslie Howard was an English stage and film actor, director, and producer. Among his best-known roles was Ashley Wilkes in Gone with the Wind and roles in Berkeley Square , Of Human Bondage , The Scarlet Pimpernel , The Petrified Forest , Pygmalion , Intermezzo , Pimpernel Smith...

 and Bette Davis
Bette Davis
Ruth Elizabeth "Bette" Davis was an American actress of film, television and theater. Noted for her willingness to play unsympathetic characters, she was highly regarded for her performances in a range of film genres, from contemporary crime melodramas to historical and period films and occasional...

. Paul Henreid and Eleanor Parker
Eleanor Parker
Eleanor Jean Parker is an American screen actress. Her versatility led to her being dubbed Woman of a Thousand Faces, the title of her biography by Doug McClelland.- Early life :...

 co-starred in the 1946 remake
Of Human Bondage (1946 film)
Of Human Bondage is a 1946 American drama filmdirected by Edmund Goulding. The second screen adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's 1915 novel, the Warner Bros. release was written by Catherine Turney...


Principal cast

  • Kim Novak
    Kim Novak
    Kim Novak is an American film and television actress. She began her career with her roles in Pushover and Phffft! but achieved greater prominence in the 1955 film Picnic...

     ..... Mildred Rogers
  • Laurence Harvey
    Laurence Harvey
    Laurence Harvey was a Lithuanian-born actor who achieved fame in British and American films.- Early life :Harvey maintained throughout his life that his birth name was Laruschka Mischa Skikne. However, his legal name was Zvi Mosheh Skikne. He was the youngest of three boys born to Ber "Boris" and...

     ..... Philip Carey
  • Robert Morley
    Robert Morley
    Robert Adolph Wilton Morley, CBE was an English actor who, often in supporting roles, was usually cast as a pompous English gentleman representing the Establishment...

     ..... Dr. Jacobs
  • Siobhan McKenna
    Siobhán McKenna
    Siobhán McKenna was an Irish stage and screen actress.-Background:Born Siobhán Giollamhuire Nic Cionnaith in Belfast, Northern Ireland into a Catholic and nationalist family, she grew up in Galway City and in County Monaghan, Ireland speaking fluent Irish...

     ..... Nora Nesbitt
  • Roger Livesey
    Roger Livesey
    Roger Livesey was a British stage and film actor. He is most often remembered for the three Powell & Pressburger films in which he starred: The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, I Know Where I'm Going! and A Matter of Life and Death...

     ..... Thorpe Athelny
  • Jack Hedley
    Jack Hedley
    Jack Hedley is an English actor, best known for his performances on television....

     ..... Griffiths
  • Nanette Newman
    Nanette Newman
    -Early life:Newman was born in Northampton, England. She was educated at Sternhold College, the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts stage school and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.-Career:...

     ..... Sally Athelny
  • Ronald Lacey
    Ronald Lacey
    Ronald Lacey was an English actor. He made numerous television and film appearances over a 30 year period and is perhaps best remembered for his villainous roles in Hollywood films, most famously Major Arnold Toht in Raiders of the Lost Ark.-Career:Lacey attended Harrow Weald Grammar School and...

     ..... Matty Mathews

Principal production credits

  • Producer
    Film producer
    A film producer oversees and delivers a film project to all relevant parties while preserving the integrity, voice and vision of the film. They will also often take on some financial risk by using their own money, especially during the pre-production period, before a film is fully financed.The...

     ..... James Woolf
  • Original Music
    Film score
    A film score is original music written specifically to accompany a film, forming part of the film's soundtrack, which also usually includes dialogue and sound effects...

     ..... Ron Goodwin
    Ron Goodwin
    Ronald Alfred Goodwin was a British composer and conductor known for his film music. He scored over 70 films in a career lasting over fifty years....

  • Cinematography
    Cinematography is the making of lighting and camera choices when recording photographic images for cinema. It is closely related to the art of still photography...

     ..... Oswald Morris
    Oswald Morris
    Oswald Norman Morris OBE, DFC, AFC, BSC is a British cinematographer. Known to his colleagues by the nicknames "Os" or "Ossie", Morris' film cinematography career spanned six decades.-Early life and career:...

  • Production Design
    Production designer
    In film and television, a production designer is the person responsible for the overall look of a filmed event such as films, TV programs, music videos or adverts. Production designers have one of the key creative roles in the creation of motion pictures and television. Working directly with the...

     ..... John Box
    John Box
    John Allan Hyatt Box OBE, , was a British film production designer and art director. During his career he won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction on four occasions and won its BAFTA equivalent three times, making him the most decorated film designer of all time...

  • Costume Design
    Costume design
    Costume design is the fabrication of apparel for the overall appearance of a character or performer. This usually involves researching, designing and building the actual items from conception. Costumes may be for a theater or cinema performance but may not be limited to such...

     ..... Beatrice Dawson

Critical reception

A.H. Weiler of the New York Times called the film a "surface, stoic old-fashioned tale" and added, "The pitiful meagerness of heartfelt dialogue, direction and acting, so essential in transporting Maugham's three-dimensional figures from book to screen, is noticeable almost from the start of this largely unemotional drama. These are not classically tortured people who emerge whole and alive on film but are, instead, artificially quaint Edwardians
Edwardian period
The Edwardian era or Edwardian period in the United Kingdom is the period covering the reign of King Edward VII, 1901 to 1910.The death of Queen Victoria in January 1901 and the succession of her son Edward marked the end of the Victorian era...

 who are simply play acting and speaking lines that seem alien to them and the viewer . . . Laurence Harvey and Kim Novak . . . seem painfully miscast. Mr. Harvey's portrayal is, at best, a succession of basically vacuous, woebegone attitudes. He appears to be more distracted than heartsick or emotionally undone. One wonders what he ever saw, aside from an occasional physical view, in Miss Novak's conception of the ill-fated, blonde Cockney
The term Cockney has both geographical and linguistic associations. Geographically and culturally, it often refers to working class Londoners, particularly those in the East End...

 whose East End
East End of London
The East End of London, also known simply as the East End, is the area of London, England, United Kingdom, east of the medieval walled City of London and north of the River Thames. Although not defined by universally accepted formal boundaries, the River Lea can be considered another boundary...

 accent and actions are often a laughable parody
A parody , in current usage, is an imitative work created to mock, comment on, or trivialise an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation...

 of the real articles . . . Most of the time, this pallid drama constitutes bondage for a discerning observer."

Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

said, "As portrayed by actress Novak, Mildred giggles a lot and speaks cockney like a girl who learned the sound of Bow bells
St Mary-le-Bow
St Mary-le-Bow is an historic church in the City of London, off Cheapside. According to tradition, a true Cockney must be born within earshot of the sound of the church's bells.-Bells:...

 from somewhere in South Chicago
South Chicago, Chicago
South Chicago, formerly known as Ainsworth, is one of the 77 well-defined community areas of Chicago, Illinois.This chevron-shaped community is one of Chicago's 16 lakefront neighborhoods near the southern rim of Lake Michigan 10 miles south of downtown...


TV Guide
TV Guide
TV Guide is a weekly American magazine with listings of TV shows.In addition to TV listings, the publication features television-related news, celebrity interviews, gossip and film reviews and crossword puzzles...

says, "As the doomed pair, Novak and Harvey are passable but little more than that. Harvey looks too old for the role and fails to give his character much life, while Novak, although making a valiant attempt, never conveys enough passion to make her role believable. Further denying any dramatic potential is Forbes' unispired adaptation of Maugham's novel. Rather than probe the psychological makeup of the characters, the script consistently focuses on superficial motivations with all the emotional intensity of a high-school drama-society production."


  • 1964 Berlin Film Festival
    14th Berlin International Film Festival
    The 14th annual Berlin International Film Festival was held from June 26 to July 7, 1964.-Jury:* Anthony Mann * Hermann Schwerin* Lucas Demare* Jacques Doniol-Valcroze* Yorgos Javellas* Richard Todd* Takashi Hamama* Gerd Ressing...

     Golden Bear
    Golden Bear
    According to legend, the Golden Bear was a large golden Ursus arctos. Members of the Ursus arctos species can reach masses of . The Grizzly Bear and the Kodiak Bear are North American subspecies of the Brown Bear....

     (Ken Hughes and Henry Hathaway)
  • 1965 BAFTA Film Award for Best British Costume Design, Black and White
    BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design
    The British Academy Film Award for Best Costume Design is one of the annual film awards given by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.-1960s:* 1969 - Oh! What a Lovely War - Anthony Mendleson** Funny Girl – Irene Sharaff...

    (Beatrice Dawson)

External links

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