Robert Donat gives a poignant performance in this superlative production as the shy, retiring British schoolteacher who guides several generations of young boys to manhood. Set at Brookfield Boys School in the late 1800s, the film follows the career of Charles Chipping, nicknamed "Mr. Chips," from his first days as an unpopular novice instructor through the marriage that brings him out of his shell to his final years as the school's beloved elder statesman. So moving was Donat's performance that he beat out the most popular American candidate for the Best Actor Oscar, Clark Gable, who was nominated for his work in GONE WITH THE WIND. Greer Garson, as Mrs. Chips, also shines in the film that introduced her to American audiences. The screenplay is bright and the direction gentle, but it is Donat who elevates this bittersweet, affectionate tribute. (The great James Hilton wrote the original story as a novella in four days to meet a 1934 magazine deadline.) Skip the 1969 musical remake starring Peter O'Toole; despite his rightness in the role, he can't salvage a lumbering horror show.