[NOTE: Goodbye Mr. Chips has not appeared on The Ratings Project yet and did not win Best Screenplay, but I had seen all of the films and this was Antares #2 of All Time.]Goodbye Mr. Chips
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I'm known as someone who plows through movies. Trying to get through every significant title I'll quickly move from one to the other. I watched 4 films yesterday, and this one came about 15 minutes after I saw Amer and posted my Shocktober review. Had I known what I was in for, I probably would have saved this for a Saturday afternoon, perhaps during mealtime. I do better with genre films during the evenings. This is a languid, but exceptional movie that's been on my Watchlist for a long time. (Every time I got a copy in the mail it was always the Peter O'Toole version, so I stopped asking for it.)
When we next submit a ballot for Top 100 Performances, Robert Donat will be on mine. I don't want to strictly focus on the physical transformation. Donat is excellent inside and out. I just as much enjoyed his going from buttoned too tight to the most essential person at that school. But physically, I still look at pictures of him young and old and can't believe it's the same person. The film starts with him old, then flashbacks to the beginning. Then they actually show you Donat's progression of facial hair, posture and speech. Yet, I still can't believe it's the same guy.
It's a little long. That's partly due to the episodic nature of the story, but the first and last 20 minutes could've benefitted from some tightening. Also the last moment with the small boy superimposed over the school is the kind of overly sentimental gesture they would nail Spielberg to a wall for. And rightly so. It's not only unnecessary it shows a lack of confidence in what Donat had done.
Just a bunch of great moments.
The mountain climbing trip - the last sequence I expected to find in this film. I thought we'd never leave the school.
The waltz. Actually that entire evening with Greer Garson is perfectly written and directed. Reminded me of Max Ophuls.
The train station.
The progression of students to pass the years. The change of hat styles.
How they introduce a sense of humor into the character.
The most dramatic scene on April Fools Day. Donat already had the Oscar sewn up, but this was landmark greatness.
Thank you, Antares. First Sundays and Cybele
and now this.