Home Movie Review THE MAN WHO STOLE AN OSCAR FROM CLARK GABLE – Leonard Maltin’s Film Loopy




When talking of nice stars from the golden age of Hollywood, one title is commonly conspicuous by its absence: Robert Donat. Sure, he was British, however he additionally labored in Hollywood and the yr that Gone With The Wind swept the Academy Awards he walked off with the Oscar for his efficiency in Goodbye, Mr. Chips, an MGM film made in England.

I just lately rekindled my nice fondness for Donat after I chanced to see the final half-hour of The Citadel on Turner Traditional Films. It’s an exquisite movie, directed by King Vidor and tailored from a novel by A.J. Cronin. The main function, a crusading physician who briefly loses his manner, is completely suited to its star—supported right here by Rosalind Russell and a scene-stealing Ralph Richardson.

A 1934 portrait selling a London stage look

But when I had been making an attempt to promote Donat to an viewers fully unfamiliar with him I might present The 39 Steps (1935), considered one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best movies. Donat had a wonderful talking voice, rivaled solely by fellow Brit Ronald Colman and Welsh-born Roger Livesey, and he’s completely matched by main woman Madeleine Carroll on this witty, still-gripping thriller. In some methods it’s the archetypal Hitchcock film, specializing in an harmless man who’s regarded as a assassin and a spy. He spends a great portion of the movie handcuffed to Carroll, who desires no a part of him and asks him how and why he pursued a lifetime of crime. Their witty badinage has seldom if ever been equaled.

Donat took up performing in his youth to beat a stutter and by no means seemed again. He had small elements in quite a few early talkies however had his first main function in an American manufacturing of The Depend of Monte Cristo (1934). Dashing and fully credible as Alexandre Dumas’ swashbuckling hero Edmond Dantes, he was introduced because the star of Warner Bros.’ upcoming journey yarn Captain Blood, however returned to Nice Britain as a substitute, by no means to set foot in California once more. (Warners was obliged to seek out an unknown to take his place and selected a current arrival from Tasmania by the use of the U.Okay. named Errol Flynn.) Different studios repeatedly provided him plum elements however he turned all of them down; apparently he hadn’t loved his transient keep in California.

A lifelong asthmatic, Donat’s output was comparatively small, however he made every movie depend. When filming of Knight With out Armor (1937) was interrupted by a two-month hospital keep, his costar Marlene Dietrich welcomed him again to the set and dubbed him “our knight with out bronchial asthma.” She had refused to proceed working till he was effectively sufficient to renew filming.

Donat and Madeleine Carroll in Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps

He’s finest remembered—when he’s remembered in any respect—because the self-sacrificing instructor in Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939), like The Citadel an MGM manufacturing made in England. (These and such different movies as A Yank at Oxford and Haunted Honeymoon had been a part of a settlement between U.S. studios and the British authorities whereby the Hollywood corporations agreed to spend a portion of the massive earnings they made in England in England.)

Based mostly on a novel by James Hilton, whose different movie-friendly books embody Misplaced Horizon and Random Harvest, Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939) is an unabashedly sentimental story of a person who seems to be again on his fifty-eight yr profession as a Latin instructor which started when he was 25 years previous. Charles Edward Chipping earns his nickname solely after years of unyielding strictness in his courses. His seemingly chilly demeanor is thawed by the charming lady he meets and marries, performed by Greer Garson. Close to the tip of his life he seems to be again with nice affection in any respect the surrogate sons he taught and despatched on their manner. Donat doesn’t mug or condescend to the viewers in his portrayal of the aged Mr. Chips. He’s totally honest, which is one cause the movie continues to be so well-loved.

One other nice matchup: Ralph Richardson and Donat in The Citadel

Even minor movies like The Adventures of Tartu (1943) and Trip from Marriage/Good Strangers (1945) are made worthwhile by his presence. And whereas an all-star forged dots the story of The Magic Field (1951) it’s Donat, because the unheralded English inventor of movement photos, who instructions the display screen from begin to end.

On the halfway level of Goodbye, Mr. Chips with Greer Garson

I want I had been round to see him on the London stage in such performs as The Satan’s Disciple, Heartbreak Home, A lot Ado About Nothing, and Homicide within the Cathedral. However I have to reconcile myself to revisiting his work on display screen and marveling at his seemingly easy charisma. He deserves to be higher identified by a brand new technology of movie buffs and students.



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