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 <email@example.com>
Alec Guinness performed the stunt of climbing down the side of the mansion. He was convinced by a technician that the piano wire holding him up would not break, since only piano wire with kinks in it would be prone to breaking. As he got to about four feet from the ground, the wire did in fact break. See more »
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 »
Once more, Ealing delivers with a deceptively slight, wonderful film
An unassuming, subtle and lean film, "The Man in the White Suit" is yet another breath of fresh air in filmic format from Ealing studios. While I suspect some modern viewers may initially find it obscure, I doubt many would fail to be charmed by the expert way the plot, the themes and characters are languidly relayed during the film's course.
The genuinely great Alec Guinness gives another fine characterization in a film perhaps not as obviously virtuoso as Ealing's inspired "Kind Hearts and Coronets" from 1949. This time, he merely plays one character rather than eight, but as the unworldly inventor and scientist Sidney Stratton, he always finds the correct tone and expression. Along with Guinness' subtle, expressive performance, the rest of the cast are effective. Of the main players, Cecil Parker and Ernest Thesiger do stand out. Thesiger is compellingly absurd as the crippled but influential business grandee, while Parker is dependable as the ineffectual yet pivotal mill owner and father. Father, that is, of Joan Greenwood, the deftly delectable comic actress, who is at her insurmountable peak in this film. Resplendent and seductive of aspect and diction, she is quite sublime in this film, a fine contrast with the similarly unusual, but more maladroit Guinness. The scene where she seemingly tries to tempt him is played so adeptly by the pair that it is both deeply poignant and amusing...
The themes are handled very effectively, with no easy morals drawn. The complexities of the relationships between science, business and the workforce are insightfully and enjoyably examined. Expertly helmed by Alexander Mackendrick, this film is technically adept in all areas; evocative photography, fitting sound effects and music and a wistful script, all quietly impress. A thoroughly satisfying film, with Guinness and Greenwood magnificent.
Rating:- **** 1/2/*****
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