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Cheers for Miss Bishop


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Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941) is a film based on the novel Miss Bishop by Bess Streeter Aldrich. It was directed by Tay Garnett and stars Martha Scott in the title role. The other cast members include William Gargan, Edmund Gwenn, Sterling Holloway, Dorothy Peterson, Marsha Hunt (actress), Don Douglas, and Sidney Blackmer. This film marked the debut of Rosemary DeCamp.


Miss Ella Bishop (Martha Scott) is a teacher at a small town Midwestern college. The story is told in flashback and takes place over many years, from the 1880s to the 1930s, showing her from her freshman year to her retirement as an old woman. At the beginning, she lives with her mother and her vixenish cousin Amy (Mary Anderson (actress, born 1918)); she remembers when her father had a farm near the town. Ella is an inhibited girl whose frustration grows as she approaches womanhood. Her ambition to teach causes her to lose her only opportunity for true love, and her life becomes one of missed chances and wrong choices.
She is engaged to lawyer Delbert Thompson (Don Douglas); but she learns, to her distress, that Amy is pregnant by him. Delbert and Amy run off together; but Amy dies in childbirth, leaving Ella to care for Amy's daughter Hope (Marsha Hunt (actress)). Hope grows up and marries Richard (John Archer (actor)), and they move away and have a daughter named Gretchen (Lois Ranson). Ella also has a fling with another teacher, the unhappily married John Stevens (Sidney Blackmer), but she eventually breaks off the relationship; later, she is distressed to learn that John has been killed.
Through all the years, Ella is supported by her friend Sam Peters (William Gargan), a local grocer. Another source of support is Professor Corcoran (Edmund Gwenn), the college president who hires her as a teacher and persuades her to stay when she considers leaving. His death is a blow to Ella. As Ella reaches old age, she lects back and realizes she allowed the years to go by without achieving what she believes to be true fulfillment. However, the years have not been without glory; and her moment of triumph arrives when her numerous now-famous students from over the years return to a testimonial dinner at the school to honour their beloved Miss Bishop.


  • Martha Scott as Ella Bishop
  • Edmund Gwenn as Professor Corcoran
  • Don Douglas as Delbert
  • William Gargan as Sam Peters
  • Sterling Holloway as Chris
  • Dorothy Peterson as Mrs. Bishop
  • Sidney Blackmer as John Stevens
  • Mary Anderson (actress, born 1918) as Amy
  • Marsha Hunt (actress) as Hope
  • Rosemary De Camp as Minna

Adaptations to Other Media

Cheers for Miss Bishop was adapted as a radio play on the March 17, 1941 broadcast of Lux Radio Theater with Martha Scott and William Gargan reprising their film roles and on the November 6, 1946 broadcast of Academy Award Theater starring Olivia de Havilland.


Cheers for Miss Bishop earned Edward Ward (composer) an Academy Award nomination for Best Scoring of a Dramatic Film. He was also nominated for scoring two other 1941 films, Tanks a Million and All-American Co-Ed. Ward earned seven Oscar nominations between 1939 and 1944, including one for the score of Phantom of the Opera (1943 film) (1943).

Category:1941 films
Category:Films set in the 1880s
Category:Films set in the 1890s
Category:Films set in the 1900s
Category:Films set in the 1910s
Category:Films set in the 1920s
Category:Films directed by Tay Garnett
Category:Films shot in Nebraska
Category:1940s drama films
Category:Films based on American novels
Category:Films about educators
Richard A. Rowland

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