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Review - Goodbye Mr. Chips (DVD-2005)
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Goodbye Mr. Chips (1939) (DVD-2005)

Warner Home Video

Reviewed by Dennis Kwiatkowski

 

Goodbye Mr. Chips was remade during the late 1960’s as a semi-musical with Peter O’Toole.  That version is not available on DVD.   But the original version of the film, made in 1939, has just been released on a Warner Bros. DVD.

 

1939 was the year of so many great films: Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, The Rules of the Game, Stagecoach, Wuthering Heights, to name a few.  Add to the list Goodbye Mr. Chips, a superlative production with poignant and brilliant performances.  It will forever be remembered as being the film whose lead actor, Robert Donat, beat out Gone with the Wind’s Clark Gable to win the Oscar for Best Actor.

 

Set at Brookfield Boys School in the late 1800’s, Donat portrays Charles Chipping, a shy and awkward British schoolmaster who guides several generations of young boys to manhood.  Chipping is nicknamed Mr. Chips.  His marriage to Katherine (played by Greer Garson in her first film role) brings him out of his shell and he is converted by love into an inspirational molder of lives. In his final years at the school, he attains the status of a beloved elder statesman. 

 

Donat’s performance was indeed deserving of the Oscar.  Portraying Chipping from his early bumbling days as a school teacher, throughout the decades, and into the twilight of his life, Donat gives a masterful performance.  So effective is his accomplishment, that the viewer is moved seemingly inexplicably at times by the nuances of his performance.

 

Donat suffered from asthma throughout his life which limited the roles he was able to undertake and the fame he might have achieved.  Even so, critic David Thompson writes that as an actor, Donat was more masculine than Leslie Howard, more restrained than Olivier and that he acted with a sense of contained riches rare for an English stage-trained actor.  Thompson further related that Donat has a great quality where he was able to draw viewers further into himself by his very modesty.

 

Made at MGM’s short–lived British studio in the late 1930’s, and based on the novel by James Hilton, Goodbye Mr. Chips is an impeccable production. Perhaps the DVD package itself best sums up the film when it states: All who treasure the memory of a beloved teacher will treasure Goodbye Mr. Chips.

 
 

2005 Dennis Kwiatkowski

 

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Listen to the MP3 (1.9 mb)

Goodbye Mr. Chips (1939) (DVD-2005)

Warner Home Video

Reviewed by Dennis Kwiatkowski

Goodbye Mr. Chips was remade during the late 1960’s as a semi-musical with Peter O’Toole. That version is not available on DVD. But the original version of the film, made in 1939, has just been released on a Warner Bros. DVD.

1939 was the year of so many great films: Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, The Rules of the Game, Stagecoach, Wuthering Heights, to name a few. Add to the list Goodbye Mr. Chips, a superlative production with poignant and brilliant performances. It will forever be remembered as being the film whose lead actor, Robert Donat, beat out Gone with the Wind’s Clark Gable to win the Oscar for Best Actor.

Set at Brookfield Boys School in the late 1800’s, Donat portrays Charles Chipping, a shy and awkward British schoolmaster who guides several generations of young boys to manhood. Chipping is nicknamed Mr. Chips. His marriage to Katherine (played by Greer Garson in her first film role) brings him out of his shell and he is converted by love into an inspirational molder of lives. In his final years at the school, he attains the status of a beloved elder statesman.

Donat’s performance was indeed deserving of the Oscar. Portraying Chipping from his early bumbling days as a school teacher, throughout the decades, and into the twilight of his life, Donat gives a masterful performance. So effective is his accomplishment, that the viewer is moved seemingly inexplicably at times by the nuances of his performance.

Donat suffered from asthma throughout his life which limited the roles he was able to undertake and the fame he might have achieved. Even so, critic David Thompson writes that as an actor, Donat was more masculine than Leslie Howard, more restrained than Olivier and that he acted with a sense of contained riches rare for an English stage-trained actor. Thompson further related that Donat has a great quality where he was able to draw viewers further into himself by his very modesty.

Made at MGM’s short–lived British studio in the late 1930’s, and based on the novel by James Hilton, Goodbye Mr. Chips is an impeccable production. Perhaps the DVD package itself best sums up the film when it states: All who treasure the memory of a beloved teacher will treasure Goodbye Mr. Chips.

2005 Dennis Kwiatkowski/ Celluloid Dreams

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