Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Anchor Bay presents
The Man in the White Suit (1951)

"Why can't you scientists leave things alone? What about my bit of washing, when there's no washing to do?"
- Mrs. Watson (Edie Martin)

Review By: Jon Danziger  
Published: October 28, 2002

Stars: Alec Guinness, Joan Greenwood, Cecil Parker
Other Stars: Michael Gough, Ernest Thesiger, Vida Hope
Director: Alexander Mackendrick

Manufacturer: Crest National
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 01h:25m:16s
Release Date: September 10, 2002
UPC: 013131147698
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- B+A-B D

DVD Review

The description of this movie might not hook you—it's a comedy about textiles!—but if you've seen any of the other Ealing Studio comedies of the period, or if you're an Alec Guinness enthusiast, you'll be well pleased that this elegant little movie has come to DVD. It's not a comedy for fans of Jackass, that's for sure, but no movie can be all things to all people, and the particularly British pleasures of this one can be tremendously rewarding.

Directed by Alexander Mackendrick, a cult hero to some of us for having directed Sweet Smell of Success, The Man in the White Suit is an elegantly told little tale, anchored by Alec Guinness's moonfaced, charming performance. He plays Sidney Stratton, the laboratory scientist who dreams of Bunsen burners and Petri dishes—he hops from textile company to textile company, furtively trying out his own formulae on company time, until he plays out the string, gets fired, and returns to the unemployment office, looking for the next opportunity for the surreptitious pursuit of his secret formula. Stratton's dream is to perfect an impossibly long molecule, a polymer that could be formed into a fabric—it wouldn't ever stain or wrinkle, it wouldn't ever wear out. And it won't hold dye, either, so of course the first garments made from it are blindingly white. (Hence the film's title.)

The idea has genius in it, obviously, bit it also makes Stratton many enemies, for so much of industry is predicated on a planned obsolescence. Why ever, for instance, would Michelin want to sell you tires that never wear out, when they can count on you as a return customer every couple of years? Management at the textile plant figures this one out early, and soon too so does the labor force—if the clothes will last forever, no one will have to buy new ones, and they'll all be out of work. There aren't many things that can bring the workers and their bosses together, but Stratton's too-clever scheme is one of them.

There's obviously lots of industrial satire here, though it surely is not as apocalyptic as something like Modern Times; there's also an element of Cold War thinking at work, as two of the textile plants square off against one another, in a sort of garmento mutually assured destruction. Stratton has recently hopscotched from the Corland mill to the Birnley one, and Mr. Birnley's daughter, Daphne (Joan Greenwood) wants to marry Mr. Corland (Michael Gough); Corland is also, not incidentally, hoping that Birnley (Cecil Parker) will make a sizable investment in his plant. Daphne is enlisted to play a Mata Hari of sorts, to convince Sidney of the error of his ways—she's not quite a love interest, but she's the only one in the story who seems to have Sidney's best interest at heart, and to cherish progress more than money.

The word that gets used frequently for movies like this is "droll," and it's probably the right one, as this is more charming than flat-out hilarious, but it is very well done indeed. It's a smart mixture of satire and physical comedy—Stratton blows plenty of stuff up real good, and there's the obvious comedy in veddy proper Englishmen discussing and working with a fabric that can be tailored only with a blowtorch. There must be generations now who think that Guinness is only Obi Wan, and this may be a revelation to some and a reminder to others of what a deeply gifted comic actor he was.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: They were doing something right back in the day at the Ealing Studio, and kudos to Anchor Bay, for the transfer to DVD is an excellent one. The gradations in the black-and-white photography are nicely preserved, as is Mackendrick's frequent use of deep-focus photography, and the title garments are downright luminescent. One of the best transfers I've seen of a film from this period.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, Frenchyes

Audio Transfer Review: The sound may not be as sharp as the picture, but it's certainly more than adequate. There's very little hiss or buzz on the audio track, and though the capacity of the mono track is of course limited, all the dialogue is readily comprehensible.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 22 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
Packaging: AGI Media Packaging
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: An original trailer, along with an extensive biography and selected filmography for Guinness, are the only extras.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

A delightful little satire with a fine central performance by Guinness, it's especially pleasing to report that the movie looks so fine on DVD. It's a lovely way to pass an hour and a half; highly recommended.


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90


Microsoft Store


television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store