Directed by Alexander MacKendrick (who also directed The Ladykillers four years later), what we have in The Man in the White Suit is Guinness' own version of the naive, indeed eccentric visionary/inventor/humanitarian. Sidney Stratton's dream is to create a fabric which never wears out and cannot be soiled. Endless (sometimes explosive) experiments involving various gurgling contraptions prove unsuccessful. Meanwhile, Stratton is fired from his job in one research laboratory, continues his research in another, and eventually succeeds. Or so he thinks.
One of these film's several delights is Joan Greenwood's portrayal of Daphne Birnley, daughter of the owner of the company in whose laboratory Stratton finally discovers the correct formula for the miracle fabric. Her father is played with great style by Cecil Parker who is almost as eager to marry off his daughter as he is to save his company. Only a spoilsport would reveal the climax of this entertaining film, one which may surprise viewers as much as it does Stratton and Alan Birnley. Sadder but wiser, Stratton ambles (as only Guinness can) into an uncertain future. Nowhere else throughout the plot is the special soundtrack more effective than it is in this final scene.
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