Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.
USA, 1969. APJAC Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Screenplay by Terence Rattigan, based on the novel by James Hilton. Cinematography by Oswald Morris. Produced by Arthur P. Jacobs. Music by John Williams. Production Design by Ken Adam. Costume Design by Julie Harris. Film Editing by Ralph Kemplen. Academy Awards 1969. Golden Globe Awards 1969. National Board of Review Awards 1969.
All the charm has been sapped out of this musical version of the popular story, originally produced by MGM in 1939 with Robert Donat. Peter O’Toole makes a wonderful Mr. Chipping (fondly called Chips), a kindly and shy teacher whose marriage to a good woman (Petula Clark) inspires him to give a sense of joy and passion to all his students, receiving in turn their love and devotion. Clark gives it a lot of energy, but her character’s being in show business presents a shallow side to the story that it never had before, and all the songs by Leslie Bricusse and John Williams are wastefully forgettable. Somehow, after hearing O’Toole do his own singing voice in this film he still managed to get hired to do it again a few years later in Man of La Mancha.