This version of Goodbye Mr Chips (at last available in a Region 2, import version) is one of my favourite films, though it is not particularly faithful to the original story or the first version of the movie. It is, essentially and very simply, a love story. The script is by Terence Rattigan and, interestingly, it comingles the Mr Chips story with elements of Rattigan's own film script of his stage play The Browning Version. Perhaps Chips is sentimentalised in this version of the story but he is played with sensitivity and poignancy by Peter O'Toole. His love interest is here played by Petula Clarke - this role having been significantly revamped by Rattigan and/or the film's producer so that the character is an actress somehwat disenchanted with life upon the wicked stage. I've always been a fan, and she gives a charmingly sincere portrayal of Katherine, filled with humour and warmth, and she sings the songs magically.
The Leslie Bricusse score is, in fact, one of the main reasons why I like this movie and what a relief to be able to sit down, curl up and see the whole thing as it was on its first release and not in one of those edited-for-TV versions in which many of the songs are cut.
Visually, the film is also a treat, though perhaps some of the photography is rather self-consciously beautiful. Somehow, however, the director and cinematographer make you feel the magic of Greece and of falling in love and staying in love. This may not be your cup of tea, but this is one of the most charming and romantic films I know and it has something real to say about the nature of love and relationship.
By the way, Peter O'Toole's real-life wife of the time, Sian Phillips, is high camp and very funny in the role of Katherine's actress friend, Ursula. Her performance is exceptionally good, brilliantly timed, and perfectly placed.