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Goodbye Mr Chips [1939] [DVD]

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Product details

  • Actors: Robert Donat, Greer Garson, Terry Kilburn, John Mills, Paul Henreid
  • Directors: Sam Wood, Sidney Franklin
  • Writers: Claudine West, Eric Maschwitz, James Hilton, R.C. Sherriff
  • Producers: Victor Saville
  • Format: PAL, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: German, Spanish, English, Dutch, French
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.37:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: 16 Feb. 2004
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00012SZ4A
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,047 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

This film was nominated for seven Oscars with Robert Donat, as the shy schoolmaster Charles Edward Chipping, winning Best Actor over Clarke Gable. Chippings is new Latin teacher at Brookfield School in 1870 who leads rather a mundane life until he meets and falls in love with Katherine (screen debutante Greer Garson) on a walking holiday in the Alps. She finally brings him happiness, but tragedy is looming for the beloved Mr Chips. Remade in 1969 with Peter O'Toole and Petula Clark as a musical.


The first film adaptation of James Hilton's British school saga, Goodbye Mr Chips is a genuine Hollywood classic. Despite competition from Gone with the Wind, The Four Feathers and The Wizard of Oz (all 1939) the film won a Best Actor Oscar for Robert Donat and six further major nominations. Donat, who had previously starred in Hilton adaptation Knight Without Armour (1937), is superb as a beloved public-school Latin teacher in an episodic tale spanning 1870-1933. From initially incompetent young teacher, he meets his wife (well played by Greer Garson) during an extended idyll in Austria, only to endure the horror of former pupils becoming victims of the Great War.

Though studio-bound and sentimental by current standards, Goodbye Mr Chips contains great warmth and humanity, and is eventually extremely moving. There is an excellent score by Richard Addinsell, and the evocation of the tragedy of 1914-18, together with Chips' friendship with German teacher Staefel (Paul Henreid), must have struck a truly resonant note in 1939. James Hilton had previously been responsible for Lost Horizon (1937), and oddly both that film and Chips would be remade as musicals, in 1973 and 1969 respectively. Chips would again emerge as a BBC serial (1984) and a 2002 TV movie starring Martin Clunes; but for many this original screen version will always remain the best.

On the DVD: Goodbye Mr Chips is presented on a basic disc with the only extras being an alternative French soundtrack and various subtitle options, including English for hard of hearing. The mono sound is fairly good, though there is occasional distortion on the music. The b/w picture is transferred in the original Academy ratio but the print used shows frequent, though minor, damage. --Gary S Dalkin

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. Hoskins on 9 Mar. 2004
Format: DVD
Being a male student (and having had this film recommended by his mother because it 'moved' her) I came into this film a little wary.
It starts a little slow but the story develops at a much quicker pace throughout. Its' comedy edges are still as funny today as i am sure they were when it was made. Robert Donat is excellent as 'chips' and equals his quality of Hitchcock's The 39 Steps. The chemistry between him and Greer Garson is excellent and the power of the scenes makes you feel really close to 'chips'. The sounds is a little wayward at times, but in the main the DVD is excellent. To be fair this film has 'moved' me and I feel it is one which will stick in my mind for a while to come.
Only one problem is the lack of extras. Actors' profiles would have been nice, but it's only a minor complaint.
An excellent film, one I recommend whole-heartedly.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By David R. Bishop VINE VOICE on 9 Sept. 2006
Format: DVD
If ever a film showcased a great talent it was 'Goodbye Mr Chips' and Robert Donat.

His performance is engaging and credible. From a young insecure new teacher, to a stale middle aged man, whose life is turned around by love, to an eccentric but lovable old fellow, Robert Donat takes you on a wonderful journey. He is in nearly every scene.

He deserved the Oscar he won. When you consider that Clark Gable was also Oscar nominated in 1939 for 'Gone With The Wind', you begin to realise what a great performance he gives.

Greer Garson's role is fairly small, but pivotal. She is on screen for surprisingly a short time, but makes a great impact.

The film shows a world long gone, if it ever existed, but Donat's great acting raises it well above sentimental. The end however, will move the tender hearted to tears.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Gavin Wilson on 8 July 2004
Format: DVD
This is a wonderfully sentimental depiction of public school life in the Victorian and Edwardian eras and beyond. Chipping, like so many other schoolmasters of the time, lives a cloistered life on which the outer world only occasionally impinges -- mostly during wartime.
In the film, he ventures out on only one other memorable occasion -- a holiday with the school German teacher to the Tyrol where he meets the handsome Greer Garson (in her first movie appearance), who somewhat improbably falls for him. This sets off a chain of sentimental events: marriage, introductions to the common room, tea with the boys, her death through childbirth, and a never-ending cycle of Colleys (played by the same actor, but with a slightly different haircut for each generation). The school hymn is also designed to pluck the heart stings.
The movie was actually filmed at Repton. I went to a similarly confined, all-boys, English public school, set in a country town miles from anywhere else, though somewhat more recently than the Chips era. Many of the masters never married because it was so difficult for them to meet any women. We still had corporal punishment -- which Chips continues to inflict even when brought out of retirement to become head during World War One. This film does not reflect the grubby reality of public school life -- the author must have had his rose-tinted spectacles on when he wrote this -- but it's hard not to be moved by it.
I have special memories of first seeing this at the age of 12 in our headmaster's study, together with all the other senior boys at the prep school. Today, its meaning for me is more about staying in the same place for a long time, while all about you moves on. (I've recently completed 25 years with the same employer!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By robert stirling TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 11 Jan. 2014
Format: DVD
This is a timeless classic which could be remade many times over in almost any time period:the sets and costumes are very basic,the story being set in a Public School where all the pupils wear uniforms and the teachers wear robes/cloaks over their contemporary clothes.

Most of the film is set within the confines of the school,so little is seen of the outside world and the changing times bar gossip by the boys of major events(the Franco/Prussian war,the Boer war,the Great War etc.).

The only major departure from the school is Mr Chipping's holiday and meeting with his future wife in Austria.

And that is the turning point in his life;from staid,cold and uninteresting teacher 'Chips' is transformed into a bright caring person that the pupils come to admire and love.

Superb performances by Robert Donat and Greer Garson(in her first screen role)as Mr and Mrs 'Chips'.

My only gripe is the annoying,stylized colour illustration of Donat and Garson on the front of the dvd jacket:it is obviously studio artwork as they never appeared together in the film without his obligatory moustache(to age him)and the film is totally in black and white.
Highly recommended.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By bernie VINE VOICE on 7 Dec. 2004
Format: DVD
This is the story of the 60 plus year life of a school teacher, Mr. Chipping (Robert Donat), from neophyte teacher to hopefully Head Master. On his way he will make several mistakes and learn from them. The movie has the feel of several stories running in series that all tie in to Chipping's life. He is also destined to meet the love of his life Katherine (Greer Garson) and see that the Danube is blue.
I do not want to go into a detail as that is the fun in watching eh stories unfold however I think it is significant when Chipping and Katherine are alone on the top of the world and time stops finding them selves in eternity. He also gets an insight or different slant of his carrier.
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