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The Man in the White Suit

Certainly one of Guinness' best performances as the laboratory dishwasher in a textile mill who invents a fabric that never wears out and never gets dirty, thus incurring the wrath of both management and labour, satirically depicted as being hand-in-glove in their conservative reliance on restrictive practices. Typically, the Ealing formula for goodnatured whimsy prevents Mackendrick from pushing the darker aspects of the theme (eminently present in Thesiger's brooding old vulture of an industrialist) to their logical conclusion. But as David Thomson acutely observed, in a note about the extent to which the acid disenchantment of Sweet Smell of Success was already apparent in Mackendrick's earlier work, there is enough of Kafka in the film to lift it right out of the Ealing comedy tramlines.

Release details

Duration: 85 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Screenwriter: Roger MacDougall, John Dighton, Alexander Mackendrick
Cast: Alec Guinness
Joan Greenwood
Cecil Parker
Michael Gough
Ernest Thesiger
Vida Hope
Howard Marion-Crawford
Patric Doonan