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This Is Not Your Ordinary Remake!
If you have read Hilton's book, "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" and have watched the old movie of the same name with Robert Donat, you might be a little bewildered by the story line of the musical version starring Peter O'Toole and Petula Clark. Don't let it throw you. The heart of Hilton's story about a shy schoolmaster living an orderly but lonely life at a British school for boys is still there. While on holiday, he meets again a stage actress he was introduced to previously by one of his former students. She charms the dust and cobwebs from his sleeping heart drawing him briefly into her theatre world. In contrast to the young men who vie for her attention, this schoolmaster is everything opposite of what the actress dreamed of wanting. It doesn't take long for her to recognize in him the special qualities that others seem to miss. Her certainty that they are meant to be together eventually overcomes his better judgement and they marry. Returning for the new school term, the newlyweds astonish faculty as well as students who believed the Greek master would stay a stodgy old bachelor the rest of his life. His appearance with a young and beautiful wife holds everyone speechless. Unknown to the Chippings there is one who attends the opening day of term ceremony casting not so kindly an eye on the happy couple, and so begins a plot for the new bride's removal. As it turns out, the shy schoolmaster is more than the opposition has bargained for! This version of "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" may be different from the original thin book, but I find the changes are for the better. The book had been originally a short story in another publication and so it never had enough room for characters or plot to develop much. In the musical version there appears more elbow room. Placing the time line later than the book, the musical 'Goodbye, Mr. Chips" begins in the 1920s and glides into WWII, giving the character of the Mrs. Chips more time to exert a positive influence on her husband. In the book and early movie, she dies early in childbirth. Peter O'Toole does a masterly job of portraying Mr. Chips and his transformation from lonely misunderstood schoolmaster to honored and beloved headmaster. The chemistry between O'Toole and Clark is what makes the story believable. The musical numbers enhance the mood of the story without intruding. The sets and scenery transport you to another time, place and state of mind. A great popcorn movie to enjoy with the family! Whether you loved the book or the old movie, this version can easily stand on it's own merits so give it a try.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 19, 2011
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