The Man in the White Suit (1951)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Sidney Stratton (Alec Guinness) has a dream: to develop a fabric that never gets dirty and never wears out. His textile mill bosses discover his secret experiments and initially ban him from their laboratories. But when Daphne (Joan Greenwood) comes to understand what Sidney is trying to do, she convinces her father, Mr. Birnley (Cecil Parker), that developing Sidney's fabric would be great for business...and mankind. Little do they know that they will spark an uprising, not only among the textile workers who would lose their jobs to the ultimate cloth, but also the business owners who would rather maintain the status quo.
Art House & International , Classics , Comedy , Drama , Science Fiction & Fantasy
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Alec Guinness
as Sidney Stratton
Joan Greenwood
as Daphne Birnley
Cecil Parker
as Alan Birnley
Michael Gough
as Michael Corland
Ernest Thesiger
as Sir John Kierlaw
Ernst Thesiger
as Sir John Kierlaw
Henry Mollison
as Hoskins
Vida Hope
as Bertha
Harold Goodwin
as Wilkins
Olaf Olsen
as Knudsen
Joan Harben
as Miss Johnson
Arthur Howard
as Roberts
Roddy Hughes
as Green/Roberts
Edie Martin
as Mrs. Watson
George Benson
as The Lodger
Judith Furse
as Nurse Gamage
Billy Russell
as Night Watchman
John Rudling
as Wilson
Desmond Roberts
as Mannering
Stuart Latham
as Harrison
Mandy Miller
as Gladdie
Des Roberts
as Mannering
Ewan Roberts
as Fotheringay
Russell Waters
as Davidson
Charles Cullum
as 1st Company Director
F.B.J. Sharp
as 2nd Company Director
Harold E. Scott
as Express Reporter
Jack Howard
as Receptionist At Corland Mill
Jack McNaughton
as Taxi Driver
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Critic Reviews for The Man in the White Suit

All Critics (11)

That Stratton proves so unable to resist his hubris surely provides the film with a cautionary subtext, but this is beautifully complicated by an ending that denies the possibility of rehabilitation.

Full Review… | November 10, 2012
Slant Magazine

Clever and witty, this Oscar-nominated British comedy displays the talents of Alec Guinness long before he became an international star with Bridge on the River Kwai.

Full Review… | July 16, 2012

Alec Guinness' sharp bird nose and watery eyes helped him play characters who were misfits on the margins of society. He made for a kindly but stubborn rebel in the Ealing comedies.

Full Review… | May 22, 2011
Sarasota Herald-Tribune

A witty Ealing Studios satirical mad scientist comedy that concerns itself with modern day societal and technological problems.

Full Review… | February 11, 2009
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

While on the surface it's a comic fable with a sense of humor as dry as a cracker, the movie possesses a sharp edge that rises like a shark fin above the natty British drollery.

Full Review… | April 6, 2006

Clever Ealing comedy, though perhaps not as great as its legend.

September 11, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for The Man in the White Suit


"Man in the White Suit" is perhaps, along with "Kind Hearts and Coronets," the pinnacle of the Ealing film. It's a very sophisticated and subtle comedy/farce that takes a dig at a number of the cultural institutions that characterise northern England. It's not so much a satire directed at capitalism but an opprobrium of the suspicious relationship between capital and labour and the broader unworkable relationship of commercial achievement with scientific progress. The success of the film resides in the subtlety with which these issues are explored and the even-handedness by which they are dealt with. At a more basic level the film is an excellent example of a farce as the frustration, misinterpretation and exaggerated comedy are delivered with a breath-taking pace. Very well written, even better direction and uniformly spot-on performances make this one of the great British films of the 1950s.

Cassandra Maples
Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer

I thought it was pretty dull to be honest. I thought it was meant to be just sci-fi, but it turned out it was a sci-fi comedy, which usually don't work. And it didn't. It wasn't funny, and it was just boring.

Lauren Donis
Lauren Donis

Super Reviewer


Another great Ealing Comedy, with the star of the studio, Alec Guiness always teriffic in the productions. Not as great as previoious ealing productions, such as Kind Hearts and Coronets, but still a must see, for British comedy and Ealing fans.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith

Super Reviewer

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