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Ealing comedy--cozy, gentle, and whimsical, right? In this case, think again. Alexander Mackendrick was always the most politically aware of the Ealing directors, and inThe Man in the White Suit(1952) he takes the studio's favorite theme of the little man up against the system and gives it a sharp satirical twist. Sidney Stratton (Alec Guinness at his most unworldly), a maverick scientist working in a textile mill, invents a fabric that never gets dirty and never wears out. He's hailed as a genius--until management and unions alike realize what his brainwave implies. Mackendrick's humor is exact and pointed, and the satire turns savage as a lynch mob of bosses and workers hunt Sidney down through dark, narrow streets. Mackendrick's disenchanted view of class-ridden British society still rings horribly true, and he draws note-perfect performances from the cream of British character actors: Cecil Parker as the liberal mill owner (based, it's said, on Ealing boss Michael Balcon); Ernest Thesiger as the evil old godfather of the industry; and, wittily sensual as Sidney's confidante, the ever-wonderful Joan Greenwood. Plus, listen out for the "voice" of Sidney's bizarre apparatus, the funniest and most unforgettable sound effect ever devised.--Philip Kemp
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CastMichael Gough, Sir Alec Guinness, Joan Greenwood, Cecil Parker, Ernest Thesiger
DirectorAlexander Mackendrick
Screen WriterAlexander Mackendrick, John Dighton, Roger MacDougall
DVD Release Date:  September 10, 2002
Runtime:  85 minutes
Studio:  Starz / Anchor Bay
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review by . April 24, 2011
Sidney Stratton and his superior suits
"Now that calm and sanity have returned to the textile industry, I find it my duty to reveal something of the true story behind the recent crisis...a story which we were happily able to keep out of the newspapers at the time." –Alan Birnley       "Why can't you scientists leave things alone? What about my bit of washing when there's no washing to do?" –Mrs. Watson       The Man in the White Suit starts with …
review by . June 26, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
I recently purchased The Horse's Mouth (1958) from Amazon as well as "The Alec Guinness Collection" which includes The Man in the White Suit (1951) plus four others: Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949), The Lavender Hill Mob (1951), The Captain's Paradise (1953), and The Ladykillers (1955). Frankly, I was amazed how well each of the six films has held up since I first saw it.Directed by Alexander MacKendrick (who also directed The Ladykillers four years later), what we have in The Man in the White Suit …
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