EST. 2009

August 16, 2012

Those Bette Davis Eyes

A 26-YEAR OLD BETTE DAVIS plays the utterly vile Mildred Rogers in John Cromwell's Of Human Bondage, the first film adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's novel of the same name. The role was, according to Davis, "a role unheard of in that day" and was hence turned down by contemporaries Katharine Hepburn and Irene Dunn.

Davis, on the other hand, wanted the role, asking Warner Brothers to lend her over to rival studio RKO, who held screen rights for the film. It was a risk taken, with full awareness that playing the evil heroine could make or break the glamorous actress.

She'll tease, she'll please, she'll unease. The film is now regarded by many as the film that made Bette Davis a star.

Bette Davis in Of Human Bondage, 1934. Directed by John Cromwell.