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Trivia / Of Human Bondage

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The 1934 Bette Davis film:

  • Acclaimed Flop: The film actually lost Warner Bros $45,000 but was heaped with praise.
  • Actor-Inspired Element: Bette Davis designed Mildred's make-up for her varying stages of tuberculosis herself. Her intent was to make it look realistic as opposed to "as if a deb had missed her afternoon nap".
  • Enforced Method Acting: Leslie Howard was very frosty to Bette Davis at first, which she said helped her to be horrible to him in the scenes that required it.
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  • Executive Meddling: Mildred dies of syphilis in the book, but the Hays Code had it changed to tuberculosis instead.
  • Fake Brit: Famously with Bette Davis playing Mildred. The mostly English cast were horrified at an American playing the part. Leslie Howard, however, was quickly won over with Bette's dedication to the role.
  • Star-Making Role: This turned Bette Davis into a star. Bette herself anticipated this and lobbied hard for the part of Mildred, sure it would be her breakout role.
  • What Could Have Been: Irene Dunne, Katharine Hepburn and Ann Sheridan all turned down the part of Mildred.
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