The Man in the White Suit (1951)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Sci-Fi, Drama  |  April 1952 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 6,376 users  
Reviews: 67 user | 52 critic

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.


(play), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sidney Stratton
Daphne Birnley
Cecil Parker ...
Alan Birnley
Michael Corland
Sir John Kierlaw
Howard Marion-Crawford ...
Cranford (as Howard Marion Crawford)
Henry Mollison ...
Vida Hope ...
Patric Doonan ...
Duncan Lamont ...
Harold Goodwin ...
Colin Gordon ...
Joan Harben ...
Miss Johnson
Arthur Howard ...
Roddy Hughes ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


First...Explosions! Then Success! Then Chaos! See more »


Comedy | Sci-Fi | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

April 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

L'homme au complet blanc  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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


$8,265 (USA) (25 January 2013)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System) (Gaumont-Kalee)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


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 »


Sir John Kierlaw: Now. Some fool has invented an indestructible cloth. Where is he? How much does he want?
See more »


Referenced in Future Schlock (1984) See more »

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User Reviews

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18 June 2004 | by ((e.g. London, England)) – See all my reviews

"Man in the White Suit" is perhaps, along with "Kind Hearts and Coronets," the pinnacle of the Ealing film. It's a very sophisticated and subtle comedy/farce that takes a dig at a number of the cultural institutions that characterise northern England. It's not so much a satire directed at capitalism but an opprobrium of the suspicious relationship between capital and labour and the broader unworkable relationship of commercial achievement with scientific progress. The success of the film resides in the subtlety with which these issues are explored and the even-handedness by which they are dealt with. At a more basic level the film is an excellent example of a farce as the frustration, misinterpretation and exaggerated comedy are delivered with a breath-taking pace. Very well written, even better direction and uniformly spot-on performances make this one of the great British films of the 1950s.

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