Monday, 10 August 2009

The Man in the White Suit

1951 - Dir.: Alexander Mackendrick

Shown at The FeckenOdeon on 22nd June, 2002

The Man in the White Suit appeared in August 1951, just two months after The Lavender Hill Mob (also starring Alec Guinness) opened. Telling the story of a scientist who is undone by the seeming perfection of his own invention, Alexander Mackendrick's astute film is the only Ealing comedy truly to bare its teeth. Capitalist greed, professional jealousy, the spectre of unemployment and a fear of progress are just some of the provocative themes explored in this razor-sharp satire that spurns the studio's customary whimsy (with the possible exception of Edie Martin's charming performance as the landlady). Alec Guinness is wonderfully unworldly as the boffin whose indestructible cloth unites the textile industry against him, while Joan Greenwood is perhaps even more impressive as the spirited daughter of mill owner Cecil Parker. Ernest Thesiger, playing the baddest of the baddies, draws on experience gained while working with James Whale on Bride of Frankenstein (1935) to add a gothic touch . Veteran Coronation Street watchers might like to keep an eye out for Jack Howarth (later to play Arbert Tatlock) in the role of a receptionist.

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