The Man in the White Suit Reviews
The Man in the White Suit is an Ealing studios comedy made in 1951, and what a little gem this could be. The film has it's humour, good acting and just a little old fun for all involved, although it isn't exactly perfect all together. It has fine acting lead by a true legend of British cinema and is written and directed well, no wonder it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing. Yes The Man in the White Suit is a funny old tale, and one that needs more explaining.
The true star of this movie is Alec Guinness, an absolute fine actor and although maybe or maybe not performing at his best here, I think all who have seen this must be in agreement, he does very well. In fact with this, the entire cast do well. I especially liked Cecil Parker in his role as mill owner Alan Birnley who although unlike able as a character, seems to make the scenes better off with him in. The actor playing Birnley's daughter Daphne is also good and a great speech she does in one certain point is very well done indeed, a great cast put together well.
The movie is smart and funny, now I have seen people saying about it not being funny and to be fair you can't expect laugh out loud humour. For one this is 1951 we have here but also it is more about the fun factor than the tears from laughter, but on that note there is humour, and a certain part with blowing up rooms is fairly funny. The film is directed well by Alexander Mackendrick who does a good job but Is over shadowed by the great script which I will come onto next.
Now then, this script, written by well the director too so in truth Mackendrick does a fine job with everything he has here and with contributions by John Dighton and Roger MacDougall it all comes together to create brilliance. The lines are well done and that is why they fit well into the pace of the film, I won't lie my attention faded at slight times but the script is what really brought me back into attention and it paid off too.
The overtones of this movie are also very important, this really was about the workers fighting the owners but also that both want to ruin Stratton's (Guinness) idea of the material. I think it also shows that although this is humour and not serious, it can have a more thought about side and again I come back to the script which basically serves as the base for this well done and well structured film. It also shows just how well Ealing studios can do a movie and I think this really set the precedent for Ealing made movies to be about the establishment fighting against the little guy.
This isn't flawless this movie I want to just add, it isn't so so far but the lack of laughs does mean as I mentioned, attention can be lost at times. I found it to be just about good and I think many will enjoy it no matter what age and no matter what tastes in film, if you listen well and watch in a rather happy mood then this is good viewing. This is good old British cinema and at it's finest back in the day, with so much going on here and a rather interesting plot despite the premise, this serves as a reminder never to underestimate films of the past.
Running snappily around 85 minutes, the story is unfolding concisely and takes an interesting turn after the cringe-worthy sequences of a nobody requests to meet an affluent personage but is routinely fended off by a hoity-toity butler. Guinness extracts a creditable poise of innocence and innocuousness besides a nerd's impulsion of his scientific pursuit, and one can read more through his inscrutable eyes. Greenwood is the darling girl here, clears barriers for Guinness when he is in trouble, a rarefied paragon from the upper class, even single-handedly engineers a persuasive feeler in the crucial moment. Vida Hope belongs to the opposite working class, who holds a secret admiration toward Guinness, and her rough and strong-arm simplicity is spot-on. Cecil Parker has a comical presence as an oscillating pushover, and a vulture-alike Ernest Thesiger has a grandstanding entrance as the mogul and decision-maker in the business.
Director Mackendrick and DP Slocombe utilizes a great contrast of Black & White cinematography to accentuate the luminous white suit, particularly in the chase set pieces. THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT is a prescient allegory tale which pinpoints the discovery of something new will upset the delicate market and self-seeking masses, it leaves a bitter taste for this technology-advanced era and meanwhile, it is an ingenious comedy deserves multiple watches anytime, anywhere.