The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

75%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 12

72%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,779
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Movie Info

This meticulous and unusually long cinemadaptation of Sloan Wilson's best-selling novel The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit stars Gregory Peck as an ex-army officer, pursuing a living as a TV writer in the postwar years. Hired by a major broadcasting network, Peck is assigned to write speeches for the network's president (Fredric March). Peck comes to realize that the president's success has come at the expense of personal happiness, and this leads Peck to ruminate on his own life. Extended flashbacks reveal that Peck had experienced a torrid wartime romance with Italian girl Marisa Pavan, a union that produced a child. Peck is torn between his responsibility to his illegitimate son and his current obligations towards his wife (Jennifer Jones), his children, and his employer. Among the many life-altering decisions made by Peck before the fade-out is his determination to seek out a job that will allow him to spend more time with his family, even if it means a severe cut in salary. The superb hand-picked supporting cast of The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit includes Ann Harding as March's wife, Keenan Wynn as the man who informs Peck that he'd fathered an Italian child, Henry Daniell as a detached executive, and an unbilled DeForrest Kelley as an army medic (who gets to say "He's dead, captain"!) ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Cast

Gregory Peck
as Tom Rath
Jennifer Jones
as Betsy Rath
Fredric March
as Ralph Hopkins
Marisa Pavan
as Maria Montagne
Ann Harding
as Mrs. Hopkins
Lee J. Cobb
as Judge Bernstein
Keenan Wynn
as Caesar Gardella
Gene Lockhart
as Hawthorne
Gigi Perreau
as Susan Hopkins
Henry Daniell
as Bill Ogden
Connie Gilchrist
as Mrs. Manter
Joseph Sweeney
as Edward Schultz
Ruth Clifford
as Florence
Jerry Hall
as Freddie
Jack Mather
as Police Sergeant
Frank Wilcox
as Dr. Pearce
Nan Martin
as Miss Lawrence
Tristram Coffin
as Byron Holgate
Dorothy Adams
as Mrs. Hopkins' Maid
Mary Benoit
as Secretary
King Lockwood
as Business Executive
Lomax Study
as Elevator Operator
John Breen
as Waiter
Renata Vanni
as Italian Farm Wife
Mario Siletti
as Carriage Driver
Roy E. Glenn Sr.
as Master Sergeant Matthews
Otto Reichow
as German Soldier
Jim Brandt
as German Soldier
Robert Boon
as German Soldier
Harry Lauter
as Soldier
Paul Glass
as Soldier
Alfred Caiazza
as Italian Boy
Raymond Winston
as Italian Boy
John Crawford
as Italian Boy
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Critic Reviews for The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (4)

  • As the broadcasting tycoon, Fredric March is excellent, and the scenes between him and Peck lift the picture high above the ordinary.

    Jun 27, 2011 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Relentlessly envelops every idea, obscures every issue in a smug smog of suburbinanity.

    Jun 27, 2011 | Full Review…
    TIME Magazine
    Top Critic
  • A mature, fascinating and often quite tender and touching film.

    Mar 25, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • The film may seem mediocre now (it did back then), but it probably speaks volumes about the period, and Bernard Herrmann composed the score.

    Jan 22, 2002 | Full Review…
  • A surprisingly engrossing, if shallow and overlong, Hollywood vision of 1950s thirtysomethings, with Peck turning in a dignified title role.

    Jun 27, 2011 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • But the film is so reductive, so often substitutes subtlety with theatrical gravitas, and so transparently stacks the deck in favor of a preordained outcome that it threatens to become a buttoned-down Reefer Madness for the corner-office set.

    Apr 4, 2006 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit

  • Jan 11, 2013
    High toned soaper that does interesting stuff, especially involving post-traumatic stress syndrome. A vet returns to civilian life and is comfortable more or less, only his wife (cast as sort of a villianess: Jennifer Jones in an excellent portrayal) wants more, "... a bigger house, more money, some status wouldn't hurt, and why aren't you going out to get all that for us??? Maybe its cause you lost yer balls in the war!" Ouch! There's a couple of side plots as well; the romance in Italy with the other woman, the boss who sacrifices everything for the company and wants Peck to do as well, which are not bad. The overall treatment of the characters and the subject keeps everything from parody.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Jun 23, 2012
    Poor ol' Atticus Finch had made it to color from black-and-white, and yet, his suit was still gray. Granted, "To Kill a Mockingbird" came out quite a bit after this film, but either way, the fact of the matter is Peck never got to escape that dreaded gray flannel. Well, at least he's not as bad trapped by a role as DeForest Kelley, who may have only had a bit part in this film, yet there's no way you can't look at him as an army medic and not scream in your head, "McCoy!" As if that's not bad enough, one of his only lines was, "This man's dead, Captain", so they may as well have just had the line be, "He's dead, Jim", and there's not even a person in the cast named Jim, which is weird, considering that everyone and their grandmothers were named James back then. Does anyone else love how I keep referencing things that came out well "after" this film as the roots of typecasts. Wow, this film didn't even make it a decade before it started to get dated to where you started seeing links to the relatively contemporary, so of course this film doesn't make it into the new world spotlessly. Well, luckily, it's still a good film, regardless of what time you're watching it in, and yet, even if the dated aspects were legitimate marks against the film on a general level, they would still remain among the least of the film's problems. The story has more branches than a rainforest tree, and each one is promising, yet when it comes down to execution, the formula hurts the film about as much as it juices it, as the story structure and telling is hardly tight. There's a very large chunk early on in the film that deals with Peck's Tom Rath character having flashbacks of his time in WWII, with particular emphasis on a love affair that he had in Italy, and while that plot segment feels really crowbarred into the midst of the main story of a veteran Raph looking for work for the sake of his family, you're expecting them to come back and work on the war plot here and there throughout the film. In actuality, they just drop it on the spot, after spending way too much time and effort focusing on it over the main plot and while the film's unevenness rarely gets that severe, the fact of the matter is that the film will not simply spend too much time focusing on the branches of its story, with Fredric March even having a rather prominent, late-to-arrive subplot that's almost entirely irrelevant to the central Rath storyline, thus leaving the film uneven in focus, taking too long to tell the subplots, alone. To make matters worse, some of the various branches are quite different in dramatic tone than others, a fact made clear by the unevenness of the story focus. After a while, we grow too used to what tone is presented for too long, thus making the eventual tonal shifts jarring and the story as tonally uneven as structurally uneven. The project is with a strong premise and promising formula, yet both the storytelling and editing is so loose that the film is rendered too uneven to really lock you in all that thoroughly. However, on the whole, the film hits more than it misses when it comes to executing the promising premise, maybe not to where it really knocks you out, but certainly to where it rewards, particularly when it comes to sweep. Now, this isn't quite a David Lean film, where plenty of things are bigger than they probably should be, as the film, even with its two-and-a-half hour runtime and grand story, doesn't stand as all that much of an epic. Still, it has occasions in which it does, in fact, incorporate epic sweep and recieves fine results, particularly during the, of course, incredibly brief, but still fairly nifty war sequences, which are grand and well-produced to make for some intense set pieces and supplements to the atmosphere. Again, Nunnally Johnson's structure and execution of the story is messy, so much so that it really takes a bit of life out of it and leaves its drama to lose some juice, yet never to where the film's intrigue runs dry. Certain dramatic moments are more impacting than others, yet on the whole Johnson manages to really draw from the atmosphere and intrigue of the story with a confidence and audacity that was impressive at the time, and remains engaging to this day, making for dramatic depth that really keeps this film going through all of its missteps. Still, Johnson is not the only person to thank for the film's engagement value, as credit also goes out to the performers, some of whom are better than others, yet almost all of whom impress to a certain degree, with the exception of the simply unbearable kids who are unpalatably obnoxious, and it doesn't help that they're written to have every despicable non-sense trait found in little brats. Outside of them, this the grown ups' show, and they don't let you forget it, with Greg Peck, in particular, really stepping up. Peck is as charismatic as he always was, yet incorporates some of that good old fashion subtle, yet touching emotional resonance that really defines the depth within the Tom Rath character and, by extension, the film itself, standing among the key aspects that really bring to life the compelling story, which may still be very much a mess, yet ultimately satisfies and makes for an ultimately worthy watch. Overall, the film's focus is wildly uneven, picking up and dropping subplots - some of which are inconsistent in tone with other story branches within he film - left and right, thus drying the juice within the resonance and leaving the film periodically disengaging, as well as generally quite improvable, though rarely, if ever improvable from underwhelming, as the film is at least consistent in keeping what steam it does have in it pumping strongly, supported by the occasional bit of gripping sweep to compliment Nunnally Johnson's generally inspired emotional resonance, though not quite as much as the mostly strong performances, particularly that of a charismatic and compelling Gregory Peck who helps in making "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" an ultimately generally engrossing dramatic effort. 3/5 - Good
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2010
    There are a lot of good actors in this movie, and the story is realistic, but it's so realistic that it's boring and uninteresting most of the time. It's okay, but it could have been a lot better.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Nov 30, 2009
    The film takes a serious look at how difficult it was for men to return to ordinary everyday life after the horror of the war. Gregory Peck accepts a new job with increased pay but added stress after much nagging from his wife who has big plans for their future. He is further tested when he realizes that an affair that took place during the war resulted in the birth of an illegitimate child. He is faced with the moral dilemma of telling his wife or hiding his indiscretion, which would ultimately wind up affecting his marriage. He wants to do the right thing, as the child is living in poverty. Ultimately the film enunciates the moral and emotional importance of honesty and its consequences. It's the writing and the messages of this film that stand out!! . I think the term"gray flannel suit" refer to corporate America where materialism was the order of the day.
    Deb S Super Reviewer

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