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Goodbye, Mr. Chips
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Novel to Film [imagemap with 8 links]

Novel to Film

The Novel | The Screenplay | The Film


The Novel

Air-raid during lower-fourth in Latin
From Goodbye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton
Chapter 15

And once, on a night of full moonlight, the air-raid warning was given while Chips was taking his lower-fourth in Latin. The guns began almost instantly, and as there was plenty of shrapnel falling about outside, it seemed to Chips that they might just as well stay where they were, on the ground floor of School House. It was pretty solidly built and made as good a dug-out as Brookfield could offer; and as for a direct hit, well, they could not expect to survive that, wherever they were.

So he went on with his Latin, speaking a little louder amidst the reverberating crashes of the guns and the shrill whine of anti-aircraft shells. Some of the boys were nervous; few were able to be attentive. He said gently: 'It may possibly seem to you, Robertson - at this particular moment in the world's history - umph - that the affairs of Caesar in Gaul some two thousand years ago - are - umph - of somewhat secondary importance - and that - umph - the irregular conjugation of the verb "tollo" is - umph - even less important still. But believe me - umph - my dear Robertson - that is not really the case.' Just then there came a particularly loud explosion - quite near. 'You cannot - umph - judge the importance of things - umph - by the noise they make. Oh, dear me, no.' A little chuckle. 'And these things - umph - that have mattered - for thousands of years - are not going to be - snuffed out -- because some stink-merchant - in his laboratory - invents a new kind of mischief.' Titters of nervous laughter; for Burrow, the pale, lean, and medically unfit science master, was nicknamed the Stink-Merchant. Another explosion - nearer still. 'Let us - um - resume our work. If it is fate that we are soon to be - umph - interrupted, let us be found employing ourselves in something - umph - really appropriate. Is there anyone who will volunteer to construe?'

Maynard, chubby, dauntless, clever, and impudent, said: 'I will, sir.'

'Very good. Turn to page forty and begin at the bottom line.'

The explosions still continued deafeningly; the whole building shook as if it were being lifted off its foundations. Maynard found the page, which was some way ahead, and began shrilly:

'Genus hoc erat pugnae - this was the kind of fight - quo se Germani exercuerant - in which the Germans busied themselves - Oh, sir, that's good - that's really very funny indeed, sir - one of your very best -'

Laughing began, and Chips added: 'Well - umph - you can see - now - that these dead languages - umph - can come to life again - sometimes - eh? Eh?'

Afterwards they learned that five bombs had fallen in and around Brookfield, the nearest of them just outside the School grounds. Nine persons had been killed.

The story was told, retold, embellished. 'The dear old boy never turned a hair. Even found some old tag to illustrate what was going on. Something in Caesar about the way the Germans fought. You wouldn't think there were things like that in Caesar, would you? And the way Chips laughed... you know the way he does laugh... the tears all running down his face... never seen him laugh so much...'

He was a legend.

With his old and tattered gown, his walk that was just beginning to break into a stumble, his mild eyes peering over the steel-rimmed spectacles, and his quaintly humorous sayings, Brookfield would not have had an atom of him different.


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The Screenplay

Air-raid during lower-fourth in Latin
From the Goodbye, Mr. Chips screenplay by Frank Delaney

Int. Classroom - Day
Chips takes the Lower Fifth for Roman History.


Chips: Gentlemen, today we will call upon the services of Mr Gibbon and his 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire' to show us that history repeats itself.

Chips: (cont'd) Will you please turn to chapter nine of volume two.

An air-raid siren sounds: Boys look out of the windows apprehensively but Chips seems - or affects - not to see.

Chips: (cont'd) 'Wars, and the administration of public affairs, are the principal subjects of history. Thank you Warburton. Who will continue? If you please, Mr Lancaster.

The air-raid siren seems to screw itself up into a greater frenzy - yet still Chips pays no attention.

Lancaster: (reads, fights the noise) 'But the number of persons. Interested in these busy scenes. Is very different. According to the different condition of mankind.'

Chips: Now what Mr Gibbon is saying here - or is about to say -

A frightful crumppp!!, a bomb lands somewhere nearby.

Chips: (cont'd) - And Mr Gibbon would hope for fewer lightnings from the gods when saying so - is that - people who are calm and occupied in peaceful countries never make war. Continue please, Mr. Lancaster.

Lancaster: 'But a state of freedom and barbarism, the season of civil commotions - Raises almost every member of the community. Into action. And consequently into notice.'

Deafeningly, another bomb hits the very building in which Chips is teaching.

Chips: Gentlemen, take cover under your desks please.

The boys sink to the floor and huddle under their desks. Chips stays standing at his desk.

Chips: (cont'd) Now gentlemen, this next passage I count important enough to have you repeat after me. (begins) 'The irregular divisions and the restless motions.'

From under the desks we hear...

Boys' voices: 'The irregular divisions and the restless motions.'

Chips: 'Of the people of Germany - '

Boys' voices: (V.O.) Of the people of Germany - '

Chips: 'Dazzle our imaginations and seem to multiply their numbers.'

Boys' voices: 'Dazzle our imaginations and seem to multiply their numbers.'

Chips: 'The profuse enumeration of kings and

Chips rushes to push Vailes away from window as the window explodes.
Chips runs to back of classroom, looks out of the window.
A dark shadow cloaks the windows on one side briefly - and in a moment, as Chips turns his head, darkens the windows on the other side of the room.


Chips: Stay put boys, nobody is to come out from under the desks. All stay there. Nobody move.

Music In 6m4 11:40:03
Cut To: Ext. School grounds square - Day

Chips emerges running as fast as a man his age can run.
From his p.o.v. We see a crashed German aircraft, steaming, small fires starting.

Cut To: Ext. School grounds square - Day

Chips bears down on the wreckage. Tight - on Chips; he presses on, face grim and determined.
A German airman staggers from the smoke, dazed.
Chips rushes towards him, wrapping his gown around him. He stares into the frightened face of the young man.


Chips: (in German) You are safe here.

Airman: Danke.


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The Film

Air-raid during lower-fourth in Latin
From Goodbye, Mr. Chips as directed by Stuart Orme

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