Stephen Burkett | Newark, Ohio - United States | 10/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Though I may not have seen this DVD, I just saw the same exact movie on PBS only minutes ago. After it ended, I knew I had to get it, so I look it up on trusty Amazon.com, and to my amazement I find it here! Sadly, I'll have to wait to get it, but I must say that this was the most beautiful and moving cinema I've ever seen! The movie was absolutely genious and Martin Clunes, a favorite British comedy actor of mine from Men Behaving Badly, suited the character absolutely flawlessly. I cannot stress how highly I think of this movie, though I only saw little more than an hour of it. I can't wait to see the rest once this DVD comes out. I reccommend it to anyone who can comprehend something a bit deeper than an action flick of today, something rare I find. Still, this movie is great and you will love it if you have any sense of film appreciation at all!"
Martin Clunes as James Hilton's beloved Mr. Chipping
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 10/31/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Watching the 2002 BBC version of "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" has convinced me that I have to track down and read James Hilton's sentimental novella to see what is really there. Having a strong affection for the original 1939 film for which Robert Donat won the Best Actor Oscar, especially for the moment when Greer Garson notices that Danube really is blue, and having ignored the songs in the 1969 musical to focus on Peter O'Toole's performance, it was interesting to see what the screenplay by Frank Delaney and Brian Finch that was new and/or different.
Mr. Chipping is played by Martin Clunes, most familiar as Richard Burbage in "Shakespeare in Love," and while he has a certain timidity to him at first he is not as befuddled or as bewildered as his predecessors in the role. Saddled with the burden of teaching Latin in addition to being a new master at Brookfield School, Chipping is immediately tormented by his students. His reputation, not to mention his job, are on the line when he makes an example of a young boy named Colley, taking advantage of the boy's name to reduce the offender to a subject of ridicule in front of his peers. The scene is informative because it establishes the Chipping would prefer not to use corporal punishment.
There is clearly a theme to this version of "Goodbye, Mr. Chips," in that his abhorrence of the systemic bullying of younger boys at Brookfield is as strong as his love for the school, its traditions, and, of course, its boys. Time and time again, Chipping tries to stop the practice, but without success. Then he meet Kathie (Victoria Hamilton), marries her, and brings her back to the school (the moment when his colleagues are stunned to discover that Chipping's new wife is both beautiful and personable is also fun). Confronted with another despicable example, it is Kathie who insists in confronting an increasingly uncomfortable Headmaster Wetherby (John Wood) at a dinner while her husband beams at both her principles and her persistence. She makes her point, first through a nice little story about the wind and the sun and then through a series of concerted efforts to teach the boys better ways of acting like gentlemen. Kathie's presence is regrettable brief in the film, but her impact on her husband is not.
It is after the death of Kathie that Chips, as we now must think of him, has his finest moment when he confronts the new Headmaster, Ralston (Patrick Malahide) over the modernization of Brookfield and the sacrifice of Max Staefel (Conleth Hill) to the building prejudice against Germans on the eve of the First World War. When the boys and their parents rally to Chipping's support, we totally believe it is justifiable because of the way that he stood up to the Headmaster as well as the philosophical points that he raised. This time there is a clear idea that Mr. Chips embodies the very best of the school that he has served for so long and so well.
Overall, I liked the "new" moments in this version of "Goodbye, Mr. Chips," while those that were familiar just struck me as being different without really being better. This could simply be because they are so familiar: I liked what the boys in Chipping's class did when they learned that Kathie was dead, but it did not have the emotional impact that I have felt in the past. Yet other viewers will no doubt appreciate that this version does not veer into such sentimentality and the strength of this production is that it mines the other strong vein of value in Hilton's story. The one point of agreement is that the performance by Clunes is at least the equal of those memorable ones that have come before it, which is a great accomplishment all on its own. This production might not be the definitive "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" for me, but Clunes' performance in the role certainly made it to that level of accomplishment."
A classic in its own right
Georgie | UK | 09/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was released on TV in the UK during Christmas 2002. I was reluctant to watch at first being a big fan of the 1939 version starring Greer Garson and the wonderful Robert Donat; I was glad I did though.
It features areas of James Hiltons novel not covered in previous films. However, this makes them no less credible!
It will remain high on my list of favourite films!!"
Goodbye, Mr. Chips
Nures Emily | Eugene, OR | 07/06/2010
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I love the book, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, and was very excited to see that there was a newer TV version, as I hoped that it would stay closer to the story than other versions previously available. I was grossly disappointed with it. It should tell the story of Mr Chipping's life as he teaches at a boys' school in England leading up to World War I, and his gentle transformation from stagnation in his teaching style and life, to that of humor, compassion and a real bond of affection between himself and his pupils brought on by his unexpected marriage at the age of 40 to a fiery young woman of 20. Rather than this, it is a rather violent depiction of the worst kind of discipline and hierarchy possible in boys' schools during that era. It dose not tell Chip's story, it serves as a hobby-horse for some one wanting to tell someone else's story, and the plot is absurdly sensational and wildly dissimilar from that of the book. The acting of the many of the main characters is lacking in ease and often the viewer feels that the actors are speaking their lines rather than being the characters. I threw it away after watching it once. Make a cup of tea and read the book instead."