Skip to comments.“Goodbye, Mr. Chips” (Movie review-5/16/39)
Posted on 05/16/2009 4:51:20 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Particularly is he worth it with Mr. Donats portrait of him. It is an incredibly fine characterization, not merely for its ability to make its convincing transition from young schoolmaster to octogenarian institution, but for its subtle underlining if underlining can be subtle - of the dramatic moments in an essentially undramatic life.
I remember the first time I saw this movie in 1996. I’m not a love story type of movie fan. I prefer historic movies, but I loved the love story in this movie.
It was on AMC when they had the classic movies on their station.
I’ll describe it as a great big little movie.
By FRANK S. NUGENT
Metro's Leo and the British lion still are on the very best of terms, a fact most pleasantly demonstrated last night when MGM's London-made version of "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" had its premiere at the Astor. James Hilton's sentimental tribute to the English public school system and to its institutional Mr. Chipping of Brookfield has been rather tenderly done. Alexander Woolcott and the other authorities who have been quoted in the ads may be guilty of whooping up its merits overmuch, but basically they are right: it is a serene, heartwarming and generally satisfactory film edition of an edifyingly sentimental novelette. Like the story, the film is nostalgic: if we never knew a Mr. Chips, we should have known him. He belongs to every young man's past.
The Mr. Chips of the Hilton biography was the somewhat dull young pedant who came to Brookfield's ivy-grown walls in his twenties, took quiet root there, languished miserably for a decade or two and then, under the tender cultivation of a woman's hand, became such a human, quizzical and understanding person that all Brookfield eventually began to regard him as an institution. He cracked academic jokes, reminded undergraduates at his teas that he had caned their grandfathers, took a philosophic view of wars and small boys appetites for walnet cakes, was a bit of a bore and a bit of an idol That was Mr. Chips.
Metro and its British aides have delt with the chronical affectionately, almost as though the centuried tradition and ingrained snobbery of the English public school system were our own. They have given the picture its properly leisurely pace, have adapted the novel carefully so as not to rend the gossamer fabric of its idealization, have valiantly -- and, on the whole, successfully -- kept its sentimentality within bounds. The book one muses over respectfully in the quiet of a study is apt to be coarsened, cheapened in its mutation to the imagery of the screen. The film of "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" is not entirely an exception. Some parts of it are brought home with eye-blackening vigor. But on the whole it is admirable and right and comes honestly by its emotionalism.
Credit for that must be divided. Mr. Hilton's adapters obviously have stenciled each page of their script with a "handle with care" and there is evidence that Director Sam Wood, Robert Donat, Greer Garson and the rest heeded their injunction. They have played out the drama at their own leisurely pace, which was the appropriate tempo. They have taken no unforgivable liberties with the story, none at all with characterization, none with setting or atmosphere. Mr. Hilton, after all, had merely sketched in his drama, notched the highlights of its action, summarized the dialog. The picture has no difficulty in using two hours to re-tell a story that was scarcely above short-story length. Mr. Chips is worth the time.
Particularly is he worth it with Mr. Donat's portrait of him. It is an incredibly fine characterization, not merely for its ability to make its convincing transition from young schoolmaster to octogenarian institution, but for its subtle underlining -- if underlining can be subtle -- of the dramatic moments in an especially undramatic life. Chips was a reticent person. Like an iceberg, two-thirds of him always was subsurface. Mr. Donat has wisely understated him, played him softly, doubled his poignance. It is only in his crochety years, when he is scampering across the campus in his tattered robe, that Chips seems a trifle overdrawn, a fraction on the cute and overacted side. But that is just an impression and not deep enough to discredit an otherwise flawless performance.
Miss Garson's Katherine -- the assertive young woman who changed the dour Mr. Chipping into the lovable Mr. Chips -- is altogether believable and quite entrancing. Mr. Hilton deserves no credit for her at all. He simply said that she was captivating and lively, that she soon had Chips, the boys and the masters worshipping at her feet. Authors have a habit of inventing people like that, merely saying they are so and so, and not bothering to prove it. But Miss Garson manages to fit the bill; more, to make it seem to do her an injustice. Her Katherine is one of the nicest people we would hope to meet anywhere. When she dies, we hate to have the picture continue without her.
The others are as good, in their way, as the script lets them be, or as Mr. Hilton might have wished. Terry Kilburn appears as the fresh-faced Peter Colleys -- first, second and third; Paul Henreid is splendid as the German instructor; there are shrewd supporting bits by Louise Hampton as Mrs. Wickett, Milton Rosmer as Chatterls, Lyn Harding as Wetherby. As Katherine remarks to Chips, "What a nice lot they are!" And somehow that suits the picture. What a nice one it is!
It's hard not to like Greer Garson. (From my manly point of view, anyway.) I think "Mrs. Miniver" is my favorite of her films. I haven't seen "Mr. Chips" all the way through, but I see from the review that her character was just a brief description in the book.
YOUTH IN REVOLT, a French drama adapted by Jean Benoit-Levy and Marie Epstein from a play by Julien Luchaire; directed by M. Benoit-Levy; produced by Transcontinental Films, Paris, and released by Columbia Pictures.
Armand . . . . . Jean-Louis Barrault
Victor . . . . . Fabien Loris
Irenee . . . . . Charles Daurat
Zizi . . . . . Odette Joyeux
Maria . . . . . Dolly Mollinger
Marthe . . . . . Jacqueline Porel
Magali . . . . . Blanchette Brunoy
Benoit . . . . . Bernard Blier
Marie Paule . . . . . Jacqueline Pacaud
Serge . . . . . Claude Sainval
Georgette . . . . . Dina Vierny
Vincent . . . . . Tony Jacqot
Arthur . . . . . Maurice Bacquet
The Doctor . . . . . Fernard Ledoux
Jean Benoit-Levy, the French film-maker who is best known to American audiences for his exercises in child psychology ("La Maternelle" and "Ballerina"), has turned his cameras upon a more mature but none the less bewildered age-group in "Youth in Revolt," the new French film which opened yesterday at the Fifth Avenue Playhouse. Infected, no doubt, by the spirit of unrest and dissatisfaction which is perceptible in young people throughout the world today, M. Benoit-Levy has imagined a group of young men and women; disillusioned and disgusted by civilization, fleeing to a stout little cabin high in the Maritime Alps and there, in the clean fresh air, establishing an ideal community, a so-called republic of youth.
With the idealistic fervor of the young, some rather strict and impractical rules of deportment are laid down. All goes to pot, of course, when the inevitable differences in temperament appear and sex rears its beguiling head. One faction holds for strict authority, one believes in individual freedom. Battles are fought over the issues and personal jealousies lead to violent strife. But all are united in the face of a menacing avalanche, and depart in the end from their modern Brook Farm a wiser and more tolerant lot.
Obviously, M. Benoit-Levy has intended his story as a parable -- a shrewd reflection upon the human failings which drive men asunder today -- and he has told it with more grace and humor than is actually in the theme. His young people are all agreeable actors who fit perfectly into their magnificent alpine environoment. Indeed, the whole thing is so idyllic that M. Benoit-Levy has been misled into making a picture which seems like a first-class amateur report on a slightly upset week-end houseparty above the snow-line
Awards in Girl Scout Cookie Content to Be Made at Tea
Final Judging of the Girl Scout Cookie Poster Content will take place at 4 P.M. today at at tea in the restaurant of the Gimbel Brothers store, Broadway and Thirty-third Street, when the judges will select the winning poster among fifty chosen from the hundreds entered in the contest. The competition conducted by Mrs. Harold Hastings, vice chairman of the Girl Scout Feeration of Greater New York, was open to all girl and boy pupils from 7 to 16 [?] years old attending New York City public schools. The winning poster will be used to promote the annual cookie sale of the Scouts this Fall.
Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt Jr., one of the judges, will be the guest of honor at the tea, the host being Bernard F. Gimbal, president of Gimbel Brothers. The fifty designers of the posters, including fifteen boys, will attend. This is the first year boys have taken part.
Annual Awards to Be Made at Regimental Day Ceremonies
Special to the New York Times. PRINCETON, N. J., May 15. --
Two dismounted student battalions and a truck-drawn student field artillery battery will pass in review before Dr. Harold W. Dodds, president of Princeton University, and others in the annual Regimental Day of the Princeton Reserve Officers Training Corps tomorrow. The student soldiers, accompanied by the Sixteenth Infantry Band, are scheduled to begin their marching on Observation Field at 3 P. M.
During the ceremonies Dr. Dodds will present the following awards:
Cadet John. K. Williams of Port Jefferson, N. Y., will receive the White Cup presented annually by Mrs. William T. White of Princeton for the highest mark made by a freshman in the gunner's examination.
Cadet Lieut. Col Hugh Wynne, '39, if Montclair, N. J., will be awarded the saber given to the cadet regimental commander by the officers of the 391st Field Artillery.
Cadet Major Raleigh Hansl Jr., '39, of Greenwich, Conn., will receive the engineers' saber presented by a Princeton friend of the unit with the highest general average in military science during the four-year course.
Cadet Second Lieutenant David H. K. Flagg of Radnor, Pa., will recieve the Lord Cup awarded annually by Captain Frank H. Lord, '79, for excellence in horsemanship.
Cadet Captain Henry H. Sharkey, '39, commanding Battery "E," will receive the "best battery" streamer for his unit.
Thanks for doing this. I transcribed all the articles to Word for posting when I started out, but I would not have been able to keep up with the dates if I didn’t learn how to scan and post the copies as images. Sometimes they are hard to read (as you noticed) and it is nice to be able to copy and paste for replies.
WASHINGTON, May 15 --
The Civil Aeronautics Authority today issued certificates to American airlines confirming authority to operate over seven routes which existed prior to the creation of the C.A.A., but denied a certificate for the route between Newark and Lakehurst, N. J. American airlines based their claim on service in 1936 between Newark and Lakehurst. The CAA ruled that the carrier had operated by arrangement with the Postoffice Administration of Germany and there was no contract with the United States Postal Service.
Thank you for the review, I missed the premiere last night. My wife and I did have the 85 cent fish dinner (a bit too pricey) after visiting the World’s Fair, and enjoyed the gaiety among the young boy waiters when that young Yankee fellow, Dimaggio, came in to the establishment.
Miss Garson's Katherine -- the assertive young woman who changed the dour Mr. Chipping into the lovable Mr. Chips -- is altogether believable and quite entrancing. Mr. Hilton deserves no credit for her at all. He simply said that she was captivating and lively, that she soon had Chips, the boys and the masters worshipping at her feet. Authors have a habit of inventing people like that, merely saying they are so and so, and not bothering to prove it.
An excellent example of the so-called "informed attribute," when the author merely announces that a character has a certain attribute, rather than going to the effort of actually showing us.
To be honest, I find it much less offensive in written works than in films.
Hugh Wynne Hugh de Neufville Wynne of Princeton died July 4 [2005?].A description of a wonderful life lived in the Free-est Republic on earth.
Born in Montclair, N.J., he graduated from Montclair High School in 1934. He completed a post-graduate year at the Choate School in Wallingford, Conn. in 1935 before enrolling at Princeton University. At Princeton, he earned a B.S. degree in geology in 1939 and was appointed Cadet Lieutenant Colonel of the college's Reserve Officer Training Corps field artillery unit.
After graduate study in geology at Princeton, in 1940 he joined Creole Petroleum, a subsidiary of Standard Oil of New Jersey (later Exxon), working as a geologist in the oil fields of Venezuela. In Venezuela he met and in 1942 married Irene Maria Paris Lujan of Maracaibo, the daughter of Juan Paris, then a representative in the Venezuelan Congress.
The couple returned to the United States in 1942 so that Mr. Wynne could take up a commission in the U.S. Army. Stationed at Fort Knox and later in Panama, he was awarded the Legion of Merit for his work in improving the accuracy of tank gunnery. He was honorably discharged with the rank of Major in 1946.
Mr. Wynne returned with his family to Venezuela in 1946, where he resumed his career with Exxon. Transferred to various posts outside of Venezuela, he subsequently headed up Exxon's operations in Argentina, Libya, and Spain.
In 1975, he retired with his wife to Princeton. In retirement he contributed his energy to the service of his community, serving on the board of directors of the Choate School, the Princeton Historical Society, and the Cottage Club at Princeton University. But his first loyalty was to Princeton University, where he was active in capital campaigns, served as president of the Class of '39, and helped form the Alumni Council Committee on Princetoniana. Among the projects he completed on the University's behalf were raising funds for the restoration of the carillon at the Graduate College, the recovery of historic sculptures for the Princeton campus, and the preparation of a guide book on the University's gargoyles.
Predeceased by a daughter, Audrey, he is survived by his wife, Irene; a daughter, Diane Mercer; a son, Hugh Wynne; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. this Saturday, July 14 at the Princeton University Chapel.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Hugh de N. Wynne '39 Annual Giving Endowment, c/o Princeton University Development Office, 330 Alexander Street, Princeton 08540; or to the Princeton Historical Society, 158 Nassau Street, Princeton 08540.
Arrangements are under the direction of The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home.
Thank you for that wonderful information. The concept of an "informed comment" is one which I've long observed, although I had no name for it and would never have guessed that it even had a name. It surely needs a name, though.
Sorry. I meant to type “informed attribute,” of course. I think I’ve typed too much.
Anyway thanks again for a very nice bit of education. Only on FR!
The acting of today's thespians seems so shallow compared to the giants of the Golden Age of Movies. Oh, well......I must be getting more and more nostalgic as I get older.
Could have been accidental. I come across a surprising number of typos in the copy.
Or maybe they used spell check and it didn't recognize the proper noun context.
Of course, all that's changed.
Did you also notice this sentence in the Girl Scout Cookie Poster story:
The competition conducted by Mrs. Harold Hastings, vice chairman of the Girl Scout Fedration of Greater New York, was open to all girl and boy pupils from 7 to 16 years old attending New York City public schools.
Note that lack of the annoying, politically correct and stupid contemporary formulation, which would have been "Ms. (her own first name) Hastings, chair of the Girl Scout Federation of Greater New York
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