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Robert Z. Leonard
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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>
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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The third in the series of films MGM made in Britain was perhaps their greatest triumph, with a well-deserved Academy Award for Robert Donat, who played Mr Chips over a span of 60 years very convincingly. Always a great actor, Donat was perhaps at his best in this story covering the history of a schoolmaster from his first appearance at the school as a young idealist, through crusty middle age (and a change when he meets charming Greer Garson, in her first screen appearance, stranded up an Austrian mountain) and into his much loved dotage as a kind of human fixture and fittings of Brookfield School.
James Hilton's book is developed here to give not only a view of the English public school system which probably never existed, but to cover issues such as the Great War with some power. The film is extremely touching in places
whether this is because of the acting or the excellent music I'm not quite
sure. I do know that this version of the film is streets ahead of the misguided musical version which appeared three decades later with Peter O'Toole in the lead.
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