Total Film - 01/01/2013 5 stars out of 5 -- "Mackendrick slyly skewers every political stance along the spectrum from Left to Right."
Based on the play by Roger MacDougall, Alexander Mackendrick's second film (which he cowrote) is a winning comedy about the battles between labor, capitalists, and scientific dreamers. Sidney Stratton (Alec Guinness) works quietly at Michael Corland's (Michael Gough) textile mill until his mysterious, costly lab experiment is discovered. Fired by Corland, Stratton takes a menial job at Alan Birnley's (Cecil Parker) mill in order to continue his work on the sly. When Daphne (Joan Greenwood), Corland's fiancée and Birnley's daughter, discovers his secret, she threatens to expose Stratton. The desperate scientist reveals to Daphne that he has invented an indestructible cloth that never gets dirty. Close to realizing his vision, Stratton celebrates by having a white suit made of the fabric (because it repels dye). The trouble, however, is just beginning. The lowly mill workers (who spout market economics in rough accents) fear for their jobs while the mill owners, led by the decrepit Godfather-esque Sir John Kierlaw (Ernest Thesiger), worry about their profits. In a series of entertaining chase scenes and attempted double crosses, the impish yet determined Stratton (sporting his luminous suit) struggles to defend his hard-won discovery from the mob.
THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT is a top British comedy about a scientist in a textile mill who invents a fabric that won't stain, tear, or wear out, causing an industry-wide panic.
Big Business |
Essential Cinema |
Theatrical Release |
Theatrical release: April 1952.
Filmed at Ealing Studios, London, England.
The film received an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay.
In his 60-year film career, Alec Guinness (Sidney Stratton) was best known for his roles in the Ealing comedies, and for playing Obi Wan-Kenobi in George Lucas's STAR WARS trilogy of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Michael Gough (Michael Corland) has appeared in over 100 films, including the trilogy of 1990s BATMAN films in which he played Alfred, Bruce Wayne's butler.