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DVD Reviews: Goodbye Mr Chips

The Final Say!

Feature Score:
DVD Extras Score

Reviewed by Alex Cuming
Review Date: 24 June 2003
Distributed by:
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Running Time: 99 Minutes

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 Features

  • Special Features

  • Cast Biographies

  • History of Mr Chips

  • Trailer

  • Subtitles on/off


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