Goodbye, Mr. Chips
Directed by Sam Wood (1939)
There’s a fine Twilight Zone episode, “The Changing of the Guard,” in which an old teacher of literature in a boys’ school is forced by the new headmaster to retire. He’s thinking of taking his own life, but he suddenly hears the school bell, as if class were in session, and he wanders over to his classroom, and there he sees it is full of boys, all of whom have passed away – for war has come and gone. And one by one they give him their tributes, telling him what he taught them when he taught them the wisdom of the old poetry.
That was, shall we say, a distant echo of the beautiful tribute to the best of the old humane English education, in Goodbye, Mr. Chips. Mr. Chipping (Robert Donat, who won the Oscar that year for Best Actor in a Leading Role) looks back upon his more than 60 years as a teacher and a sometime headmaster at Brookfield School, and remembers with fondness the many boys he taught. Mr. Chipping – Mr. Chips, as the boys name him in a jaunty way – wasn’t alw…
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