Goodbye Mr Chips (1939)

by missizziemcguinness

Hollywood's Greatest Year: The Best Picture Nominees of 1939

‘How can you ever get old in a world that is always young?’

Goodnight Mr Chips is a poignant classic film about a man called Mr Chips (Robert Donat) who begins teaching at a prestigious boys school, unaware of how he will affect the lives of many generations of young boys in his years of teaching.

I haven’t seen any other Robert Donat films; but just by watching an old movie like this one reminds you that it can be touching without overdoing it, yet it can be simple with the generations of children who are taught by him and you are immediately put back on track if it is ever lost so that it does not go off on a tangent.

There is absolutely nothing that I can criticize about this film; although at times it is a bit stagey, mostly between the younger boy actors. I like the way that the characters come back, and because Chips is such a three dimensional character; when we as an audience lose him, it is as if we have lost a bit of ourselves. Donat cluckily has an ageless face and his eyes give enough expression and emotion to carry the scenes; allowing him to age drastically throughout the course of the film. I can’t remember a film that has inspired me so much as watching generations of boys grow up on screen while still watching it in a 21st century living room.

I laughed, I cried, the music helped the pace and the flow of the film, and I somewhat fell in love with Donat’s acting. I think I would need to rewatch this film again and fall in love with it more, because it is a classic. The set looks amazing, and it only takes an old fashioned film like this one to sweep you back to olden days of classic cinema, as if it is a pre- World war I time warp.You could analyze it as much as possible and it would probably make the film better, not worse.

Sorry for the gushing. If you haven’t seen Goodbye Mr Chips, I would suggest that you watch it (preferably with a box of tissues) because it really makes you think yet it changes your view of old movies;which have come to be my favorite because of their basis to show a story, not a boring back story and random unnecessary characters .For example; there can be a romantic love story between Chips and his wife (Greer Garson) without modern necessities for a love story like sex and stuff.  Garson was also a very glamorous actress of her day who kept the story together in the scenes that she was in.

Directed by Sam Wood.