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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>
34-year-old Robert Donat ages 63 years (1870-1933) over the course of the film. He remarked: "As soon as I put the mustache on, I felt the part, even if I did look like a great Airedale come out of a puddle." 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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Sam Wood's film "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" is the story of Mr. Chipping (Robert Donat), an elderly schoolmaster at the prestigious Brookfield school in England. At the beginning of the current year's term, "Mr. Chips" is retired, but still living on campus and still interacting with the boys at the school. Suffering a cold, he retires to his living room in front of a fireplace and begins to reminisce about his long, 63
year career at the school. Beginning as an idealistic teacher, he
gains a reputation for stodginess, though his peers and students find that to be an almost endearing quality. Years later, he goes on holiday with a fellow teacher to Austria and meets the love of his life, Katherine (Greer Garson) who is an intelligent free spirit. After a whirlwind courtship, the two marry, and Chips (as she begins to call him) brings her to England with him in time for the next term. With her influence, Chips begins to open up more to his students and peers and quickly gains a very popular following among both. Throughout the years, Chips takes care of his students, and sees several generations of boys from the same families come under his care, personified by the Colley boys (all played by Terry Kilburn). Once WWI begins, most of the older students and schoolmasters enlist, so Chips is asked to come out of retirement to do the job that he has wanted to do his entire career at Brookfield become Headmaster, leading the next generation of students while being forced to deal with the losses of his former students from the war.
"Goodbye, Mr. Chips" is obviously the inspiration for films like "Mr. Holland's Opus" in that it is a sentimental story of a young and insecure teacher who carries through with his career not really knowing the influence he has had on his students. "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" did not have a big emotional crescendo at the end that similar films from the last two or three decades generally did (and do) but rather it had a quieter, more dignified emotional catch. Robert Donat is spectacular in this Oscar-winning role. It is amazing that he was able to play a man that was between 10-50 years older than he really was so convincingly. Greer Garson is wonderful as always in her role as "Mrs. Chips". The film itself was charming and sentimental without being overly sappy; I certainly had tears streaming down my cheeks at the end, but didn't feel foolish about it. I would recommend this one to anyone, but I think that it will certainly get a much better response from classic film lovers due to its purity and its unabashed sentimentality. 7/10 --Shelly
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