Andrew Crocker-Harris, "The Crock" as his students call him, knows he isn't loved like the fictional Mr. Chips, but in the span of just over a day he is forced as Robert Burns would say, "to see ourselves as others see us." Michael Redgrave, the father of the British theatrical family and himself a former schoolmaster, brings a quiet resolve to the role of a man coming to terms with the failure of his life. His much younger wife, Jean (Jean Kent), has come to the end of her frustration with his failure to rise in his profession and becomes bitter when illness forces his early retirement. When a small act of kindness by one of his students lets him see how he has never imparted to them his own love of the classics, he begins to reflect on the rest of his life. His marital problems, confessed in terms far less explicit than are common to today, is perhaps even more effective for its verbal restraint.
Anthony Asquith, who directed Redgrave in THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, takes a successful contemporary play by Terance Rattigan and provides a seamless transition to the screen. Jean Kent strikes just the right note as a woman who, in the name of honesty, has become heartlessly cruel, adding to the pleasure of watching Michael Redgrave's wonderful performance build to its deeply emotional climax.
Cannes Best Actor 1951 Michael Redgrave British Actor