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mrsl

Goodby Mr. Chips

5 posts in this topic

This was such a disappointment for me. I liked O'Toole and Clark, but they just didn't have the chemistry that Garson and Donat had. The movie itself had no warmth. Watching Mr. Chips, followed by West Side Story, although I adore WWS, I was so happy to see 7 Brides/Brothers afterward to pick up my spirits, the first two were such downers. I love musicals for their uplifting spirit, but getting two serio-sramas in one night was a little too much.

 

Anne

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You have company, Mrs. L., in your disappointment. As I recall, the musical version of Goodbye Mr. Chips was a box office bomb...

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This was my post in the "tearjerker" thread recently:

 

The most recent one to work on me was this afternoon's "Goodbye, Mr Chips," the Peter O'Toole/Petula Clark musical. I remember hearing nothing but terrible things about it when it was new. I've got the LP but don't think I've ever played it. Never watched it before. HAVE watched the Donat classic.

 

Hey - I was impressed. PC sings, for sure; PO is at least as good as Lee Marvin (!) in that regard, or close to Rex Harrison (more to the point). By the final scenes I was really into it, and prepared for the same ending as the Donat - and just as happy for what I was watching, instead. I like this ending, too ( - - and some of you thought I was going to give a spoiler, I'll bet). Cried as much because of the change (in a good way) as for him in general. Long movie, but then I'm used to opera! And it looks gorgeous.

 

Bill

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You know, I recently revisited the O'Toole Chips - which I had not seen for some time, but could not get the immortal performances of Donat and Garson out of my head. There's really no comparison for me. Though I love Hollywood musicals at their best, this film, at least in my opinion, does NOT represent the genre well. It's a shame too, because there was so much going for it on the surface - good cast, impressive sets and costumes, reasonably passable score and so forth. But some stories just don't lend themselves to musicalization - this is one. Another would be the disastrously gaudy and charm-free remake of 1939's The Women, renamed The Opposite Sex.

 

In the early 60s MGM went through a very harrowing run of productions. Minus a Louie B. Mayer, the powers that be staked their entire studio almost on a picture by picture basis. While some of MGM's vintage sixties output (like Grand Prix) did well and kept the studio afloat, other well intentioned product (like the remakes of Mutiny on the Bounty and Goodbye Mr. Chips) just failed to gell at the box office.

 

Even without the luxury of direct comparison to the Donat original (that sixties audiences could not have had because VCR's were still a good decade and a half away and the release of Chips '39 more so still - it originally came out on VHS in 1983), there were still enough old timers who had been there/done that in 39' to recall how magnificent those performances and the film were.

 

But comparisons aside - and judging the film on its own merit, I still think O'Toole is a poor choice for Chipping. He's wooden a lot of the time and his age make-up is not nearly as convincing as Donat's. Also, Donat seems to age before our very eyes - in his deportment and carriage, whereas I've never been quite entirely convinced that O'Toole isn't still a young guy waddling around beneath his gray hair and fake wrinkles.

 

Donat seems to do the impossible - he actually allows the audience to get lost in his performance so that we feel that the film may very well have been shot over a forty year stretch with the actor allowed to naturally age as the shoot progressed. O'Toole, in this respect, is entirely unconvincing - an oversight in characterization from which the film never recovers.

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In the early 60s MGM went through a very harrowing run of productions. Minus a Louie B. Mayer, the powers that be staked their entire studio almost on a picture by picture basis. While some of MGM's vintage sixties output (like Grand Prix) did well and kept the studio afloat, other well intentioned product (like the remakes of Mutiny on the Bounty and Goodbye Mr. Chips) just failed to gell at the box office.

 

It was a sad state of affairs, and it affected just about everything coming out of Culver City.

 

I'm not entirely sure that the original movie was a distant memory at the time the remake came out, there's a chance it showed on TV from time to time.

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