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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>
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 »
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 »
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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