The Man in the White Suit (1951)

Feature Film | Comic Sci-Fi | UK | English | 1h25m
Dir: Alexander Mackendrick | Scr: Roger MacDougall, John Dighton, & Alexander Mackendrick | Play: Roger MacDougall | Ph: Douglas Slocombe | Prod: Michael Balcon | Mus: Benjamin Frankel | Ed: Bernard Gribble | AD: Jim Morahan | Snd: Stephen Dalby | Cast: Alec Guinness, Joan Greenwood, Cecil Parker, Michael Gough, Ernest Thesiger, Howard Marion-Crawford, Henry Mollison, Vida Hope, Patric Doonan, Duncan Lamont

Whilst employed at a number of cotton mills in the north of England as a labourer, a graduate chemist surreptitiously works in their research labs on a formula to create an unbreakable, unsoilable fabric. However, each time he is discovered he is taken as a crank and given his cards. That is, until he finds an unlikely ally in the shape of the daughter of an industrialist, who convinces her father to allow him to carry out his research to fruition. Eventually, after an explosive few weeks in the lab, he manages to successfully create this ground-breaking new fabric, which is set to – much to the chagrin of labour and management alike – revolutionise the industry. And so, worrying for their financial futures, all and sundry do their best to supress this little man’s life’s work. Written with bite, directed with flair, and performed with panache, this brilliant Ealing comedy from Alexander Mackendrick proves a satirical gem. The inspiredly assembled cast is wonderful to a man, but special mention should go to Guinness, Greenwood, Parker, Thesiger, and Hope, who are all quite delightful. The film's rhythmic, musical sound design is also decidedly memorable.