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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>
Brookfield School was founded by Jonathan Brookfield in 1492. See more »
Miss Kathy tells Chips that the ballroom in Vienna is where Metternich drew up "the treaty of the five kings" (referring to the Congress of Vienna in 1814 ending the Napoleonic Wars) "nearly 100 years ago." But the montage after Kathy's death makes clear she died before the Boer War (1899) and Queen Victoria's funeral (1901). 100 years after the Congress of Vienna was 1914, the start of World War I when Chips becomes acting headmaster and Kathy is spoken of as having died long ago. See more »
Mr. Chipping 'Mr. Chips':
Well, remember me sometimes. I shall always remember you. "Haec olim meminisse iuvabit." I need not translate it for you.
[the phrase is from Virgil's Aeneid: "In the future, it will be pleasing to remember these things."]
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Amongst those movies that aim to use straightforward human drama alone to tell a thoughtful story, "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" is one of the finest. Robert Donat's performance gives you not just one character to remember, but several, as he convincingly portrays Chipping's different personas at different stages of his life.
Greer Garson is also excellent in her role, and Paul Henreid gets some good scenes as well. These relationships and others throughout the movie make for a believable and memorable portrayal of the title character, and also of the world in which he lived. The story is well-written, and it includes a very good variety of material, showing the characters dealing with everything from eager anticipation to grave concern, from blissful joy to great sorrow, and much in between.
The panorama from generation to generation also works well, showing both change and stability as time passes. While only a handful of scenes contain weighty material, all of it is thoughtful, and much of it memorable. It keeps everything balanced and believable, and it's been a good while since any movie of its kind has worked so well.
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