Bondage


1h 7m 1933

Film Details

Also Known As
The House of Refuge
Genre
Drama
Release Date
Mar 31, 1933
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The House of Refuge by Grace Sothcote Leake (New York, 1932).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 7m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,050ft (7 reels)

Synopsis

Judy Peters is about to be sentenced after she has pled guilty to her third offense of prostitution, when Dr. Nelson interrupts and tells her story to the court. Over a year earlier, Dr. Nelson meets Judy at the boardinghouse for working girls where she lives, when he comes on ambulance duty to take away an unwed girl who is about to have a baby. Judy works in a music store and avoids the attempted flirtations of her married boss. When crooner Earl Crawford, for whom most girls swoon, comes to the store and tries to talk to her, Judy runs off, but her friend Maizie accepts a luncheon date with Earl for Judy and herself. Judy does not respond to Earl's flirtations, but after Earl persists in calling, Maizie makes another date with him for Judy. At his apartment, Judy is surprised that Earl does not make a pass at her, but instead speaks of his own loneliness and his pleasure at making his lonely listeners happy. Judy is affected by Earl, and when he drives her home and kisses her goodnight, she embraces him tenderly and allows him to pull her back into his car. Three months later, Judy is pregnant. When Maizie, against Judy's wishes, tells Earl, he leaves town. Judy says she does not care and that she wants the child, whom she vows to work for, fight for and love. Judy goes to live at the Elizabeth Wharton Home for unwed expectant mothers. Once Mrs. Wharton leaves, the matron, Miss Trigge, reveals her lack of concern for the girls living there and her obsession with control and power. Judy is warned by the other girls that her baby can be taken away if her boyfriend doesn't show up and marry her. Judy meets Dr. Nelson again, and, seeing his compassion for one of the girls whose baby died during birth, asks him to be her doctor. Judy has a girl, whom she names Jackie, and says she hopes Jackie will be a doctor like Dr. Nelson. When the father of another girl visits, Judy and her friend Irma lock Miss Trigge in the cellar so that the father will not find out that his daughter, who told him she was a nurse, is there because she is pregnant. Miss Trigge is furious when she gets out. When Earl is tracked down, brought to the home and told he must marry Judy, she angrily refuses him and says she would prefer the baby to have no name at all than Earl's. Admiring her courage, Mrs. Wharton tries to help Judy get work, but Mrs. Wharton's presence stigmatizes her, and it is not until Judy tries alone, that she is able to land a job at a beauty salon. Judy then returns to the home and learns that Miss Trigge gave her baby away. She threatens to kill her if she doesn't get her baby back and fights her, but Miss Trigge subdues Judy, and she is placed in a psychiatric ward in the state hospital. Meanwhile, the woman who took Jackie brings her back because she cries all the time. At Judy's hearing, the judge, having no evidence of Judy's psychosis, releases her. She returns for her baby, but learns that Jackie has died. When Miss Trigge offers to pray with her, Judy explodes and castigates her for the way she has treated the girls. They all chase Miss Trigge into her office, where she calls the police. Mrs. Wharton and Dr. Nelson then arrive and discharge Miss Trigge, but learn that Judy has left. In the courtroom, Dr. Nelson makes a plea to the judge that society, rather than Judy, should be on trial for its indifference and intolerance. The judge suspends Judy's sentence, and she thanks Dr. Nelson. As she leaves, he asks her where she is going, and when she replies, "Who cares?" he follows her.

Film Details

Also Known As
The House of Refuge
Genre
Drama
Release Date
Mar 31, 1933
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The House of Refuge by Grace Sothcote Leake (New York, 1932).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 7m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,050ft (7 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was The House of Refuge. Correspondence in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library indicates that because of suggestions from James Wingate, Director of the Studio Relations Committee of the AMPP, the script was changed to establish the home for unwed expectant mothers as a private institution, rather than a state or county institution, and that as much comedy as possible was injected to lighten up the story. Nevertheless, when Twentieth Century-Fox applied for a certificate for the film to be re-issued in 1937, the Hays Office deemed the film "unacceptable." Reviewers noted that the film was influenced by the German film M├Ądchen in Uniform, produced in 1931 and released in the U.S. in 1932, and by the 1932 Warner Bros. film, I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (see below). Like that film, Bondage ends with a victim of society speaking a hauntingly short statement which expresses her lack of hope for the future.