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BETTE DAVIS "OF HUMAN BONDAGE" 1/10 REMASTERED

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Uploaded on Feb 3, 2010

The 1934 RKO Radio Pictures adaptation of W. Somerset Maughams Of Human Bondage, directed by John Cromwell and starring Leslie Howard in the leading role, is a part of Hollywood history because it afforded Bette Davis the opportunity to establish her superiority as an actress and star and yet subsequently failed to earn her an Academy Award nomination despite thunderous critical acclaim and commercial success. The saga that ensued—the battle to be cast, Jack Warners discouragement of her nomination, the allowance of write-in ballots, her failure to subsequently win—would end in Miss Davis receiving an Academy Award for Best Actress for Dangerous, an honor which she considered a very obvious consolation prize for the Academys failure to recognize her work in Of Human Bondage. Amidst such a scandalous turn of events, it becomes easier to overlook what an incredible performance was at the root of such controversy. And, more than 75 years later, Mildred remains one of Bette Daviss most vivid and brilliant film characterizations.
For years this film has been widely available but in low-quality public domain versions that rarely look any better than a second-generation VHS tape. However, in 1999 a DVD of the film was released in a beautifully restored and remastered version by an independent entertainment company that was trying its hand at early talkies on DVD after having great success with European horror films in the laserdisc market. Much to the chagrin of film fans everywhere, this company began dismantling operations the following year, and in the decade since there continue to be only inferior quality versions of this film available. The restoration capabilities of this independent outfit cannot and do not match the high quality precision of Criterion Collection titles, but until The Criterion Collection sets its overdue focus on the contributions made to cinema by The First Lady of the American Screen, it remains the best-looking version of the film that I have ever seen.

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY 2010 & VIVA LA BETTE!

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