A member of the House of Lords dies, leaving his estate to his son. Unfortunately, his son thinks he is Jesus Christ. The other, somewhat more respectable, members of their family plot to steal the estate from him. Murder and mayhem ensue.
In the later years of the nineteenth century Latin master Mr. Chipping is the mainstay of Brookfields boys boarding school, a good teacher and a kindly person but he is considered to be ... See full summary »
Arthur Chipping is an academic teaching at Brookfield Boys School outside of London in the 1920's. Although he does what he considers best for his students, they don't much like him, nicknaming him "Ditchy", short for "dull as ditch water". His life changes when he meets Katherine Bridges, a music hall actress and a woman with a questionable past. She affectionately calls him Mr. Chips. Despite their differences, they fall in love. He in particular realizes that in striking a relationship, they will have many obstacles to overcome. He doesn't particularly like the world in which she is involved, including her friends and her profession, and she doesn't exactly fit the mold of a teacher's wife. Still, they decide to get married. She forgoes her career to be Mrs. Chips, living on campus as the housewife of a teacher at a proper boy's school. It is a world in which she will have to learn the rules, or at least bend them to her sensibilities, although she vows never to embarrass him. ... Written by
[looking at a carving]
What does that mean?
Gnothe seauthon. Know yourself. The watchword of Apollo.
The god of prophecy?
Among other things...
[Later at the close of the scene]
[contemplating the temple she has visited]
Know yourself. That's quite a watchword. Gnothe seauthon.
You're most retentive.
Give me a good line and I can remember it.
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Arthur Chipping is a 40 something Latin master in an English public school circa 1924. He's respected, but not particularly liked. He's seen as dull, hence his nickname: Ditchy, as in ditch water, dull as. The one person who seems to see beyond Chipping's exterior is his friend Max Staefel, the German master. One of his ex pupils takes him to a musical show which features the singer Katherine Bridges, and he meets this young lady again on holiday in Pompeii. Against all odds, they achieve a rapport, and thanks to Max, who memorises the address for him, they meet up in London and fall in love. They marry and the effect on Chipping is remarkable - his buried humanity is unlocked and the boys begin to love as well as respect the man they now affectionately call Chips.
Chips and Kathy have a blissful 20 years together until tragedy strikes in the form of World War II.
Often dismissed as inferior to the classic 1939 version with Robert Donat, this musical from 1969 with Peter O'Toole as Chips and Petula Clarke as Kathy, will always be THE version for me. I first saw it at the cinema on original release and although at the age of 8 I was vaguely aware that it was a film for adults, and some of it was above my ability to comprehend, I fell in love with it. I haven't fallen out of love since. As a matter of fact, when I saw the Donat version on TV shortly after seeing this, it struck me as a pale shadow of the O'Toole movie. I've learnt to respect and admire the original film, but it has never been able to engage my emotions as the O'Toole version does.
Peter O'Toole is brilliant as Chips, his awkwardness, embarrassment and growing self confidence and his all consuming love for Kathy and his care for the boys he teaches is enchantingly portrayed. The scene in which he reacts to the tragedy that World War II brings is incredibly powerful and moving. He really does look like a man whose whole life has crumbled around him.
True, it does make a number of radical changes to the original novel, but this doesn't matter - it works on it's own merits. Never mind the trendy critics of the day, treat yourself to a wonderful two and a half hours of pure magic.
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