Ella Bishop is an inhibited girl whose frustrations grow as she approaches womanhood. As a women, her ambitions to teach cause her to lose her only opportunity for true love. Ella's life becomes one of missed chances and wrong choices. As she reaches old age, she reflects back and realizes she allowed the years to go by without achieving what she believes to be her true fulfillment. However, her years have not been without glory, and her moment of triumph arrives when her numerous now-famous students from over the years, return to honor their beloved Miss Bishop. Written by
Marc Andreu <email@example.com>
[Reading from J. M. Barrie's book, The Little Minister]
The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another.
Would you mind reading that again? Just the last sentence.
The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story... and writes another.
I suppose that's true, isn't it? We dream dreams and... Do go on.
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Most of Cheers for Miss Bishop is told in flashback as Martha Scott reminisces with old friend William Gargan about her fifty years as a professor of English at Midwestern University. In fact the whole film is held together by Martha Scott's powerful performance in the title role.
Scott tells of her life beginning with her accepting a position at a small college after graduating from same as an English teacher. She's one of those rare people who's life and job become bound as one and finds she has no use for the other aspects of life like home and family. Even Robert Donat's Mr. Chips married Greer Garson albeit ever so briefly.
Not that she didn't have chances to marry, but her career and her students came first.
Martha Scott gets good support from a nice ensemble of players that also include Edmund Gwenn and John Hamilton as her college presidents, Dorothy Peterson as her mother, and Mary Anderson as her great niece.
Particularly impressive to me was Rosemary DeCamp as a young Scandinavian immigrant student who Scott recognizes intuitively as being an incipient genius with a photographic memory. When she's accused of cheating Scott saves her from expulsion by having her recite the Declaration of Independence from memory. It's a very powerful screen debut for Rosemary DeCamp.
Still the film is Martha Scott's show and a good show it is too.
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