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Man in the White Suit [VHS]
Top Customer Reviews
"The Man in the White Suit" is a brilliant, but very eccentric scientist, and Guinness is of course terrific in the lead. As always, Cecil Parker is fine in support, and Joan Greenwood, with her breathy, seductive voice, is wonderful. As other reviewers have noted, watch for Ernest Thesiger as "Sir John"--in just a few scenes he manages to convey pure evil and greed very convincingly.
While this film has humour, it is not quite a comedy in the usual sense. Its various themes and messages ring true even today. "Planned obsolescence" is as much a part of modern manufacturing as it has ever been. The possibility of a product that never wears out and will never need to be replaced is every big business' worst nightmare, and hardly good news for labour either. This comes across in the movie, and in 2003 I don't expect that the reaction would be any different. We have been hearing about engines that run on solar power or even water for years--guess how much "big oil" is going to let that happen ? !
The movie has a number of unforgettable scenes, including the climax where Guinness is cornered by the mob of workers and capitalists, united in their fear. The ending is as upbeat as one could expect, without compromising the seriousness of the theme.
The picture quality of the DVD is fine, especially for a 52-year old film.
If you like classic movies that are aimed at your brain, as well as your funny-bone, "The Man in the White Suit" fills the bill.
Quite a tug-of-war develops between Guinness and the government henchmen involving chases, bribery, kidnapping, and other lunacies. But it all comes to naught when the lasting qualities of the fabric prove to be defective. Guinness is wonderful and the script is taut and hilarious. It's a neat little black comedy on industrialism vs. the entrepeneur. From that devilish smile on Guinness's face at the end, it looks like the battle goes on. Terrific fun; definitely worth a watch.
"Why can't you scientists leave things alone? What about my bit of washing when there's no washing to do?"
The movie starts with the first quote and almost, but not quite, ends with the second. In between is one of the funniest and best-made of comedies. In post-war Britain, Sidney Stratton is a young man with a passion for chemistry and an obsession with creating his "long molecule." With this he'll be able to create a fabric that is indestructible and will never need cleaning. It will be a blessing for humanity. But Stratton keeps getting fired from his jobs, which always are at places where he can secretly set up his chemical experiments. At last, through wonderful confusions, he finds himself running a giant laboratory at Birnley Mills; he has the support of the delicious daughter (Joan Greenwood) of the owner; and he succeeds in creating his fabric. At first the mill's owner, Alan Birnley, can barely suppress his glee. His mills will turn out fabric that everyone will want. Then the workers and the other mill owners realize there's a problem. With a fabric that will never wear out and never needs cleaning...what happens to their mills and what happens to their jobs?
What happens is that labor and capital join forces to suppress Sidney's invention. The movie takes on all comers with sly dialogue, chases and kidnappings, some sharp-elbowed pokes at the self interest of both unions and management, and some fine comic acting.Read more ›
After he is promoted, he is given full support for his bizarre idea. Then, another of the elements of satire is the mad scientist of the horror films of the late 40's, with suitable lights flashing, "boops....beeps" and water gurgling sound effects, and a few explosions of the works.
This leads to curiosity...what is he up to? Then, word leaks out that he is working on a cloth that never gets dirty and never wears out. At first it sounds like a good idea but soon the Schumpeterian creative destruction implications of this invention for jobs, businesses, and industries, becomes clear to the industry leaders, the unions, and the ordinary workers. Then, another object of satire in this movie proceeds as all the groups go to battle against each other and then eventually against this man and his invention.
Then the movie goes into a chase scene with Guinness wearing this incredibly luminous white suit..... but you'll have to watch the movie to find out how it ends.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
movie is boring but Guinness is a marvel, It's hard to take your eyes off him.Plot is stupid & contrived, but Guinness has so much energy it's fascinating !Published 2 months ago by BookshireCrone
Wonderful fable about the temptation of unions and established business to allow their economic interests push them to kill innovation and entrepreneurial activity. Read morePublished 13 months ago by S. R. RITENOUR
considering when.It was made, the movie is an hilarious sendup of that time in British history. Alec Guinness, of course, is splendid as are many of the other cast members.Published 18 months ago by dormouse3
An independent inventor Sidney Stratton (Alec Guinness) invents a new polymer. The bourgeoisie incarcerates him. Read morePublished 18 months ago by bernie
Not all of the old Ealing comedies were good, but this one is topnotch. Using the same concept as was presented in Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead", an eccentric inventor has come up... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Long Tom
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