A young scientist invents a material that is indestructible and repels dirt. He soon finds himself caught between the moguls of the textile industry and the trade unions, all equally determined that his invention never sees the light of day.
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The rhythmic, musical persistence of cultural/scientific progress, its often incongruous relationship to economics. The white suit "wearing" Alec Guiness, his own concept quite literally overshadowing his physiognomy, is one of the most striking images the cinema has given us. Capitalist curtailment is conveyed as nothing less than death incarnate. The dichotomy between innovation & market balance is irresolvable.
power of sci-fi was always in the ability to imagine a believable scenario and explore how it would affect us as individuals and the society as whole. it's a thought experiment of our own unwillingness in accepting innovation that is beneficial because we tend to blow up the negative when the status quo is threatened. very similar to our apprehension towards machines that may or may not threaten our jobs..
"You're not even born yet. What do you think happened to all the other things? The razor blade that never gets blunt, and the car that runs on water with a pinch of something in it. No, they'll never let your stuff on the market in a million years." Capital and Labor are the enemy of innovation. Thoroughly enjoyable watch, Mackendrick's was a cinema of economy, movement and humor in the darkness of society.
3 1/2 out of 5 stars. A great comedy that made me fall in love with Alec Guinness all over again. The Man in the White Suit is full of subtle humor and the finale was like The Third Man and Stray Dog's love child. A fun little movie that leaves its audience with something to think about. Not perfect, but great nonetheless.
As was noted in The Guardian a few years ago, the scene in which the well-fed white guys ask the Joan Greenwood character to essentially prostitute herself is remarkable both for its cynicism and for the fact that it got past the censors.
"It’s a comedy that isn’t all that concerned with being funny and which contains themes of social, economic, and cultural significance, built upon a story exploring the consequences of a massive scientific discovery on mankind." - Jeff Saporito, Screen Prism. And it *is* funny but that heckling cacophony at the end harshed my buzz. Poor Sid Some great performances though. 3.5 stars