The 1939 Goodbye Mr Chips is like an old, three-legged dog: slow, and past its prime, but you canít help loving it just a little.Greer Garson is the best thing about the picture. She makes a big impression in her first film, and is absolutely true to her character - radiant, assured, impossibly good and a career-saving tonic to the dull Mr Chips (Robert Donat). You donít want her to leave the screen. Her death is robbed of its poignancy by occurring off-screen and without proper explanation.
To signify the passing of time in the picture, thereís an endless succession of superimposed images of private-school boys announcing their names at roll-call. Thereís an awful lot of boys, and an awful lot of time, passing in this picture.When Chips is brought out of retirement to act as principal during the World War I, I had a horrifying thought: what if Chips was around to run the school during World War II, or Vietnam?