The Man in the White Suit (1951)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Sci-Fi, Drama  |  April 1952 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 6,287 users  
Reviews: 67 user | 51 critic

An altruistic chemist invents a fabric that resists wear and stain as boon to humanity but both capital 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


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


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


Featured in The Light Bulb Conspiracy (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

another Ealing Studios gem!
4 February 2000 | by See all my reviews

I can't say whether the post-WWII British comedies produced at the Ealing Studios are an acquired taste or not, but I am completely addicted, and The Man in the White Suit is one of the best. No need to go into the well-known plot about the threat posed to both the textile industry and the textile unions by an indestructible, dirt-resistant fiber. Suffice it to say that the slings and arrows suffered by the naively idealistic Sidney Stratton in pursuing his polymer vision make for a comedic delight. Many of the well-known faces from the world of British character actors - the nervous Cecil Parker, the suavely devious Michael Gough, and the bluntly ruthless Ernest Thesinger - put in wonderful performances. Guinness - as always and forever - is superb, and Joan Greenwood is delectable as Daphne (just the way she enunciates the word "Daddy", makes the entire movie worth seeing).


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