Arthur Chipping (Peter O'Toole) is an academic teaching at Brookfield Boys School outside of London in the 1920's. Although he does what he considers best for his students, they don't much like him, nicknaming him "Ditchy", short for "dull as ditch water". His life changes when he meets Katherine Bridges (Petula Clark), a music hall actress and a woman with a questionable past. She affectionately calls him Mr. Chips. Despite their differences, they fall in love. He, in particular, realizes that in striking up a relationship, they will have many obstacles to overcome. He doesn't particularly like the world in which she is involved, including her friends and her profession, and she doesn't exactly fit the mold of a teacher's wife. Still, they decide to get married. She forgoes her career to be Mrs. Chips, living on campus as the housewife of a teacher at a proper boy's school. It is a world in which she will have to learn the rules, or at least bend them to her sensibilities, although ...Written by
No, the allusion was to the stage which used to be my profession.
You're an actress, Mrs. Chipping?
Well, not even my best friends would call me that.
Aw, and what would they call you?
A soubrette. That's the girl in musical comedy who sings the big number and, in the end, loses the man.
In real life, they nearly always end up the wives of earls. I nearly did. But luckily... I met Chips.
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Following the initial roadshow bookings, the film was cut to 133 minutes, with many of its musical numbers deleted. This was possibly a questionable decision considering many of the songs were instrumental in explaining the characters' inner thoughts and emotions. This cut version was originally used for initial television network broadcasts but the full roadshow version (complete with overture and entr'acte music) is now shown on TCM. See more »
When it opened in London during the Christmas season of 1969 this musical version of James Hilton's famous story was drubbed by the critics. The same reception greeted it when it opened in the US, prompting MGM to withdraw its "Roadshow" status and cut almost all of its songs. What a mistake!!!
Watched years later, when the trendy world of the 60's and 70's has turned in upon itself, this version of GOODBYE, MR.CHIPS is a total delight. First of all, as "Chipping", Peter O'Toole gives one of his greatest performances. To watch him turn from the hated, cold, emotionless Latin teacher at a boy's boarding school, to a man who finally can see the colors in the world (after falling for and marrying musical star Catherine Briskit) is to see a genius at work. (If you can, watch LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, THE LION IN WINTER, MY FAVORITE YEAR and CHIPS back to back over a number of days or weeks. Then you will see what a truly great actor O'Toole is, and how magnificent he is in CHIPS.)
Catherine, as played by the glowing Petula Clark, at the height of her popularity, is ever man's dream; beautiful, loving, understanding, with a great voice to boot. Most of the songs are beautiful and fit the story perfectly, while the direction by the late Herbert Ross brings the proceedings wonderfully to life.
Okay, this film may be a bit too romantic for some people, but for those who are looking for a beautifully acted, sung, and directed love story, look no further. (If you can get your hands of the laser disc wide screen version, better yet. I am anxiously awaiting CHIPS' debut on DVD.)
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