7.4/10
7,037
72 user 50 critic

The Man in the White Suit (1951)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi | April 1952 (USA)
An altruistic chemist invents a fabric which resists wear and stain as a boon to humanity, but both big business and labor realize it must be suppressed for economic reasons.

Writers:

(play), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A meek bank clerk who oversees the shipment of bullion joins with an eccentric neighbor to steal gold bars and smuggle them out of the country as miniature Eiffel Towers.

Director: Charles Crichton
Stars: Alec Guinness, Stanley Holloway, Sidney James
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Five diverse oddball criminal types planning a bank robbery rent rooms on a cul-de-sac from an octogenarian widow under the pretext that they are classical musicians.

Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Stars: Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers, Cecil Parker
Whisky Galore (1949)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Scottish islanders try to plunder 50,000 cases of whisky from a stranded ship.

Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Stars: Basil Radford, Joan Greenwood, Catherine Lacey
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Residents of a part of London declare independence, when they discover an old treaty. This leads to the need for a 'Passport to Pimlico'.

Director: Henry Cornelius
Stars: Stanley Holloway, Betty Warren, Barbara Murray
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A distant poor relative of the Duke of D'Ascoyne plots to inherit the title by murdering the eight other heirs who stand ahead of him in the line of succession.

Director: Robert Hamer
Stars: Dennis Price, Alec Guinness, Valerie Hobson
High and Dry (1954)
Certificate: Passed Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An American businessman in Scotland is conned into shipping a valuable load of cargo to a Scottish island via a coal powered boat.

Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Stars: Paul Douglas, Alex Mackenzie, James Copeland
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The bigamist captain of a ferry boat between the restricted British colony in Gibraltar and Spanish Morocco has a woman of differing appeal and temperament in each port.

Director: Anthony Kimmins
Stars: Alec Guinness, Yvonne De Carlo, Celia Johnson
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Powerful but unethical Broadway columnist J.J. Hunsecker coerces unscrupulous press agent Sidney Falco into breaking up his sister's romance with a jazz musician.

Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Susan Harrison
Last Holiday (1950)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

When a lonely, unappreciated farm equipment salesman discovers he has only weeks to live, he withdraws his savings for a final holiday at a 'posh' resort.

Director: Henry Cass
Stars: Alec Guinness, Beatrice Campbell, Kay Walsh
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Major Jock Sinclair has been in this Highland regiment since he joined as a boy piper. During the Second World War, as Second-in-Command, he was made acting Commanding Officer. Now the ... See full summary »

Director: Ronald Neame
Stars: Alec Guinness, John Mills, Susannah York
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Sidney Stratton
...
Daphne Birnley
...
Alan Birnley
...
Michael Corland
...
Sir John Kierlaw
...
Cranford (as Howard Marion Crawford)
Henry Mollison ...
Hoskins
Vida Hope ...
Bertha
Patric Doonan ...
Frank
Duncan Lamont ...
Harry
...
Wilkins
...
Hill
Joan Harben ...
Miss Johnson
Arthur Howard ...
Roberts
Roddy Hughes ...
Green
Edit

Storyline

Sidney Stratton, a humble inventor, develops a fabric which never gets dirty or wears out. This would seem to be a boon for mankind, but the established garment manufacturers don't see it that way; they try to suppress it. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Should they let him play...or should they put him away? See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

April 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

L'homme au complet blanc  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$3,874 (USA) (16 November 2012)

Gross:

$8,265 (USA) (25 January 2013)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System) (Gaumont-Kalee)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The strange noises made by the laboratory apparatus were created by uncredited sound editor Mary Habberfield and produced for the sound track by a tuba and a bassoon. See more »

Goofs

When Mr. Harrison is called by a woman because he is wanted by Mr. Corland, he is blowing into a glass vial on a side counter which was not there in the previous shot. See more »

Quotes

Sidney Stratton: It shouldn't have done that.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Prêt-à-jeter (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Satirical genius from the house of Ealing.
4 March 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Often tagged as a comedy, The Man In The White Suit is laying out far more than a chuckle here and there.

Sidney Stratton is an eccentric inventor who isn't getting the chances to flourish his inventions on the world because nobody pays him notice, he merely is the odd ball odd job man about the place as it were. After bluffing his way into Birnley's textile mill, he uses their laboratory to achieve his goal of inventing a fabric that not only never wears out, but also never needs to be cleaned!. He is at first proclaimed a genius and those who ignored him at first suddenly want a big piece of him, but then the doom portents of an industry going bust rears its head and acclaim quickly turns to something far more scary.

Yes the film is very funny, in fact some scenes are damn hilarious, but it's the satirical edge to the film that lifts it way above the ordinary to me. The contradictions about the advent of technology is a crucial theme here, do we want inventions that save us fortunes whilst closing down industries? You only have to see what happened to the coal industry in Britain to know what I'm on about. The decade the film was made is a crucial point to note, the making of nuclear weapons became more than just hearsay, science was advancing to frighteningly new proportions. You watch this film and see the quick turnaround of events for the main protagonist Stanley, from hero to enemy in one foul swoop, a victim of his own pursuit to better mankind! It's so dark the film should of been called The Man In The Black Suit.

I honestly can't find anything wrong in this film, the script from Roger MacDougall, John Dighton and director Alex Mackendrick could be filmed today and it wouldn't be out of place such is the sharpness and thought of mind it has. The sound and setting is tremendous, the direction is seamless, with the tonal shift adroitly handled by Mackendrick. Some of the scenes are just wonderful, one in particular tugs on the heart strings and brings one to think of a certain scene in David Lynch's Elephant Man some 29 years later, and yet after such a downturn of events the film still manages to take a wink as the genius that is Alec Guinness gets to close out the film to keep the viewers pondering not only the future of Stanley, but also the rest of us in this rapidly advancing world.

A timeless masterpiece, thematically and as a piece of art. 10/10


9 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?