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Robert Z. Leonard
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Arturo de Córdova,
An old classics teacher looks back over his long career, remembering pupils and colleagues, and above all the idyllic courtship and marriage that transformed his life. Written by
David Levene <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>
Mr. Chips was modeled on W.H. Balgarnie, James Hilton's old classics master who taught for over 50 years at The Leys public school in Cambridge. See more »
[on his first day at Brookfield School, Mr. Chipping is attempting to bring his unruly class under his control]
Mr. Chipping 'Mr. Chips':
Silence! Silence! I'll have no more of it!
No more silence, sir?
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The children attending the Brookfield school are no ordinary English
boys; they are the the children of the upper classes of society, who
for generations have learned from institutions such as the school
represented here. They are molded at places like this fictional one to
be leaders of their country.
Mr. Chipping is a teacher who gives his life to Brookfield, only to be
bypassed when promotions are handed out. His love for the profession
and his dedication to the formation of these children are his reasons
for living. Most of his own life is spent at the school. Only in times
of crisis is Mr. Chipps recognized.
Mr. Chipps knows happiness only too briefly. He is extremely lucky when
he finds Katherine. One can see the rapport in her, although we never
see it explicitly on Chipping's face, maybe because a stiff upper lip
that doesn't let him express his true feelings to a woman who adored
him from their first encounter. Mr. Chipps lives long enough to learn
about the death of his beloved students in several world conflicts. As
a father figure, his life is full because the love and admiration the
young boys feel for him.
The film made Robert Donat a favorite of the movie going public. Mr.
Donat goes from being a taciturn person into a jolly old man living on
his own because Katherine dies young. The film improves tremendously
when Greer Garson appears. Her luminous presence changes the tone of
the movie because of her incredible charm. Paul Henreid makes a short
appearance as Staefel, the fellow teacher who invites Mr. Chipps to
accompany on a vacation trip to Austria.
Sam Wood direction pays a close look to detail. The film is a classic
and will live forever.
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