The factual Mr Chips was
not of the same name but lived his life much in the same way of the movie
character. His personality was admirable and he became one of the better
renowned teachers of his time of early 1900’s. His kind thoughtful nature and
at times witty sense of humour drove his curriculum as Latin teacher for
Brookfield high school. Coming from an all boys’ school myself it was
interesting to see the dynamics of the students that attended this fictional
school adaptation. The state of bullying at the school had not been curbed by
the teachers at the time with the use of caning and therefore Mr Chips
enforced his own style of discipline by befriending the students. Winning
their trust and subsequently their good behaviour was his method and whilst
not deemed as appropriate at the beginning by his superiors was to later
become the norm for many schools today.
Mr Chips is and it goes
without saying a Latin teacher at a reputable school in England. This film is
a testimony of his life from his early beginnings of his career. The
headmaster at the time had very old fashioned values where behaviour
enforcement was carried out with an iron fist. Mr Chips was different and
wanted to change the way the school was run. Along the way Mr Chips falls in
love with a woman Kathryn who he happens to meet whilst walking home one day
in his earlier years as a teacher. They both fall in love and marry rather
suddenly. On this positive note Mr Chips becomes housemaster of one of the
boarding houses, which he takes to great enthusiasm. Soon there are school
dances organised and Chips becomes recognisable in the hearts of many students
and teachers. The headmaster know what he is up to he can not be fooled, that
Chips is trying to get everyone married and as happy as he is.
The beginning of the story
is remarkably slow and mundane to be honest but does grow on the viewer to
become a memorable piece of British cinema. There are no wanky bits that will
make the viewer admire the “magic” of film as many Hollywood movies will
attest to. What Goodbye Mr Chips rellies mostly on is dramatic effect and
done with a certain poise to not disrupt the flow of the film. The screenplay
as atypical to many all boy schools namely Melbourne Grammar to name but one
that I know of. There were certain traditions that were exasperatingly
carried out for things such as initiation. Mr Chips changes the way the
school is run with the introduction of civility and not so barbaric conduct.
This way it teaches the students respect and to not know how to bully kids in
later generations to come.
The progressive nature of
the film is commendably cognoscente with contemporary times. The dialogue is
modern but not to the effect where the film in its entirety is current. Some
moments are typically private school and something that students of these
schools will identify with. Teachers in boarding schools have a much more
cooperative involved approach to the learning than co-ed schools and they have
to, otherwise it will attribute to mayhem in the classroom.
Overall the film was very
well done the gravity of the role of Mr Chips as Latin teacher was a pivotal
one inside the school. Mr Chips played a major role in amending the way
discipline was enforced and made him all the more admirable. The extras on
the DVD are informative and do the film its duty as support for the feature.
The details about the real life Mr Chips from which it is based is presented
in text and is worth a look.
Goodbye Mr Chips
History of Mr Chips