Combustible Celluloid
Search for Posters
With: Alec Guinness, Joan Greenwood, Cecil Parker, Michael Gough, Ernest Thesiger, Howard Marion-Crawford, Henry Mollison, Vida Hope, Patric Doonan, Duncan Lamont, Harold Goodwin, Colin Gordon, Joan Harben, Arthur Howard, Roddy Hughes
Written by: Roger MacDougall, John Dighton, Alexander Mackendrick, based on a play by Roger MacDougall
Directed by: Alexander Mackendrick
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 85
Date: 08/07/1951

The Man in the White Suit (1951)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

In Alexander Mackendrick's The Man in the White Suit (1951), Alec Guinness plays feverish inventor Sidney Stratton, working innocuous jobs in textile mills so that he can sneak into their laboratories to work on his invention: a completely stain-resistant, wear-resistant fabric. Unfortunately, instead of changing the world, he discovers that the garment industry as a whole wants to suppress his product. Mackendrick -- who later worked with Guinness in The Ladykillers and went on to make Sweet Smell of Success -- directs with a keen eye on shadows and spaces for more pronounced comic effect.

In 2019, Kino Lorber released a Blu-ray edition, not without its flaws, but solid enough and certainly recommended. It includes a commentary track by film historian Dr. Dean Brandum, a fun featurette wherein filmmaker Stephen Frears and film critic Ian Christie (and others) discuss the film, and a batch of trailers for this and other Guinness/Ealing comedies.

Movies Unlimtied