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In old age, Miss Bishop reminisces about her life. A dedicated teacher, she spent her whole life teaching at Midwestern College. She never married when her first love married her cousin and another could not get a divorce from his wife. When her cousin dies giving birth, she raises the girl as if she were her own daughter and names her Hope. Throughout her life, she proved to be an inspiration to many students, many of whom move on to great things. On her retirement, many of her students return to say farewell. Written by
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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