Spinster septuagenarian Ella Bishop, on the brink of retirement from her fifty-two year career as the freshman English teacher at small town Midwestern University, her alma mater, wants to look toward the future, but can't help reflect upon her past, what brought her to this point. Although she always wanted to be a teacher and was both surprised and ecstatic when her mentor, Midwestern's then President James Corcoran, offered her the English teacher opening upon graduation, she only saw it as one short phase of her life until she got married and had a family, unlike her younger cousin, Amy Saunders, who solely needed romance and love to feel fulfilled. She thinks about the two men with who she was mutually in love and would have married if she could have if it not for one circumstance or another, and the one man whose love for her was and is unrequited, at least in the romantic sense, but who was and has always been there for her. Although never haven given birth to a child of her ...Written by
[giving a toast]
So here's to our nation: she's young, she's growing too fast, she makes a lot of mistakes, but somehow she does manage to keep her people free. May she always.
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Life And Job Become Bound As One
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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