7.4/10
7,644
72 user 50 critic

The Man in the White Suit (1951)

Trailer
2:46 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $3.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
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:

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

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

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 | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Esposito is a thief who cons tourists in Rome. A lengthy persecution by police Bottoni, who manages to catch it starts. In an oversight Esposito manages to flee again. Bottoni superiors inform him that if no catches him will lose his job.

Directors: Mario Monicelli, Steno
Stars: Aldo Fabrizi, Totò, Ave Ninchi
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
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Forced to retire from an English public school, an unpopular professor must confront his failure as a teacher and husband.

Director: Anthony Asquith
Stars: Michael Redgrave, Jean Kent, Nigel Patrick
La Poison (1951)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Through a series of circumstances and plot twists an enterprising man manages to get away with murdering his wife, even though he cheerfully admits his guilt in court.

Director: Sacha Guitry
Stars: Michel Simon, Jean Debucourt, Jacques Varennes
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Mandy Garland was born deaf and has been mute for all of her life. Her parents believe she is able to speak if she can only be taught and enroll her with a special teacher.

Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Stars: Phyllis Calvert, Jack Hawkins, Terence Morgan
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 7/10 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 | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An open hearted and unrelentingly energetic orphan struggles to make the best out of his life on the streets of Milan.

Director: Vittorio De Sica
Stars: Emma Gramatica, Francesco Golisano, Paolo Stoppa
The River (1951)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Three adolescent girls growing up in Bengal, India, learn their lessons in life after falling for an older American soldier.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Patricia Walters, Nora Swinburne, Esmond Knight
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alec Guinness ... Sidney Stratton
Joan Greenwood ... Daphne Birnley
Cecil Parker ... Alan Birnley
Michael Gough ... Michael Corland
Ernest Thesiger ... Sir John Kierlaw
Howard Marion-Crawford ... Cranford (as Howard Marion Crawford)
Henry Mollison ... Hoskins
Vida Hope Vida Hope ... Bertha
Patric Doonan Patric Doonan ... Frank
Duncan Lamont ... Harry
Harold Goodwin ... Wilkins
Colin Gordon ... Hill
Joan Harben Joan Harben ... Miss Johnson
Arthur Howard Arthur Howard ... Roberts
Roddy Hughes 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:

Guinness is Back...Working Wonders With Wile, Whimsey and Wit! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

April 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El hombre del traje blanco See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,874, 18 November 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$8,265, 27 January 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Ealing Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System) (Gaumont-Kalee)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The sounds of Stratton's experiment (described on the record label as "guggle glub guggle") were set to music by Jack Parnell and released on Parlophone R 3435 as "The White Suit Samba" with words by T.E.B. Clarke. 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

[first lines]
Alan Birnley: Now that calm and sanity have returned to the textile industry, I feel it my duty reveal something of the true story behind the recent crisis, a story which we were able, happily, to keep out of the newspapers at the time.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Irv Kupcinet Show: Episode dated 22 April 1977 (1977) 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 SpikeopathSee 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


12 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 72 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed