The Man in the White Suit

Screening on Film
Directed by Alexander Mackendrick.
With Alec Guiness, Joan Greenwood, Cecil Parker.
UK, 1951, 35mm, black & white, 85 min.

This satire on British industry represents a more ambitious project than usually undertaken in Ealing comedies. Alec Guiness plays a laboratory dishwasher in a textile mill who invents a fabric that neither wears out nor gets dirty, thereby incurring the wrath of both management and labor, who conspire to prevent its success. The Man in the White Suit’s confrontation between altruism and the business world anticipates Alexander Mackendrick’s later, darker investigation of naked greed, Sweet Smell of Success.

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Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive: A–Z