beefing up my 2017 watchlist with radical leftist films. suggestions welcome (keeping at one per director for now).
The Man in the White Suit
Guinness is Back...Working Wonders With Wile, Whimsey and Wit!
The unassuming, nebbishy inventor Sidney Stratton creates a miraculous fabric that will never be dirty or worn out. Clearly he can make a fortune selling clothes made of the material, but may cause a crisis in the process. After all, once someone buys one of his suits they won't ever have to fix them or buy another one, and the clothing industry will collapse overnight. Nevertheless, Sidney is determined to put his invention on the market, forcing the clothing factory bigwigs to resort to more desperate measures...
It's a simple story about a brilliant scientist (Guinness) who, while working in a textile factory, invents a 'perfect' fiber that cannot be soiled. The only problem is that nobody else seems to share his enthusiasm for his invention.
This classic comedy is just as depressing as it is funny. The satire here is painfully bleak, due to its realistic premise. It seems like something could just as easily occur today, if it hasn't already. For instance, how many people would truly like to see an automobile get 500 miles-to-the-gallon? Similarly, how many industries would be all-too-happy to suppress a fully electric vehicle? One could conjure up countless other examples in all walks of life. Sad, but true.
Old Ben Kenobi has rarely been better.
The joy of Ealing comedies is they're so often considered to be the domain of homely traditional English values, all quaint and innocuous. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, and the very best of Ealing's output were trenchant affairs that took an obvious delight in their scalpel like incisions into the underbelly beyond their seemingly cosy appearance.
Alexander Mackendrick, American born and raised in Scotland, was perhaps more disposed than most in turning a critical almost outsider like surgically aloof eye to the Ealing ethos and, in Alec Guinness' wonderful turn as inventor Sidney Stratton, he explores beautifully what his biographer Philip Kemp claims was his favourite theme, that of a 'lethal innocence' in his protagonists. Guinness…
Comedia + drama + ciencia ficción + cine social + Alec Guiness y un puñado de genios más...
This film concerns young inventor Sidney Stratton (another superb role from Alec Guinness) who is, without his factory bosses knowing, working on a new fabric which will never destruct, never need mending, never need cleaning. A wonder fabric which will revolutionise the world.
The mill owners get greedy and think of the immense profits they will make putting the wonder material into production; while the workers revolt at the thought of their standard job roles being eroded. The plethora of situations within 'The Man in the White Suit' gives a lot of scope for humour - the appearance of Ernest Thesiger is a real hoot - along with the sharp social comment.
Of course, the twist at the end makes fools of everyone, from Sidney to the great and good of the UK's industry. It's a good movie and one which hasn't dated too badly.
A non-stop comedy generates an avalanche of fun and humour with a top cast of players supporting Alec Guinness in one of his finest performances as the scientist who invents an amazing textile that apparently won't wear out and actually repels dirt, thereby throwing the textile industry and its shop floor workers into turmoil.
Mackendrick brings his customary sharpness to this satire on moral cowardice and the conservatism of British industry but he does it in a way to keep audiences happy and rolling in the aisles with laughter, just as you would expect from the fun factory that was Ealing studios in the '50's: it's constantly inventive (check out the smile-inducing sound design when the test tubes are bubbling away!) and a fantastic combination of wit and rollicking high spirits!
The brilliantly incisive and timeless The Man in the White Suit is a streamlined fable on the sobering cause and effect follies of capitalism. The innocent idyllic innovations of the aloof genius are pitted against the systemic purr of world-weary reality (which don't just audaciously unite the vested interests of capital and labour, but additionally with a thematic crescendo the general postwar community desires for the understandable comforts of mundanity), and are played out through unexplainable lab infestations (the recurring sound motif of which reminds of Thom Yorke's Brain in a Bottle), explosive research, glowing gags and the cruelest and most conclusive emperor's new clothes sight I've ever seen.
The fibre to end all fibres, too perfect to be true,…
Alec Guinness has often been at his comic best in the role of an ordinary man with an obsession, and who can be as ordinary and obsessed as an inventor? In this film, he plays a quirky, idealistic scientist who lives in the modern economy of quick obsolescence yet is fixated on the long-range benefits to humanity of a cloth that will stay clean and last forever. Guinness's bland monomaniacal scientist is beautifully matched by Joan Greenwood, who is all guile and scorn and perversity, without any real aim or purpose. Alexander Mackendrick directed this deft capital-science-labor comedy. With Cecil Parker, and Ernest Thesiger as a half-dead industrialist. Screenplay by Roger MacDougall, John Dighton, and Mackendrick. (Item for collectors of movie memorabilia: the gurgling, bubbling squirts and drips of the hero's experimental apparatus were joined to a rhythm and issued by Coral Records as "The White Suit Samba.")
It's settled, I need to see everything Alec Guinness has ever done. It pains me that I have been ignorant of Alec Guinness for 27 years of my life. I will surely be making up for that because he truly steals every scene he is in. The Man in the White Suit shows Guinness as an inventor who has dedicated himself to inventing something that will help mankind. Guinness starred in The Man in the White Suit with Joan Greenwood in Alexander Mackendrick's 1951 feature. Billed as both a drama and a comedy, The Man in the White Suit has several funny moments while also taking a hard look at the economic system and who it holds captive, both those…
Sidney Stratton (Alec Guinness), chemist, has the single-minded goal of inventing an indestructible and dirt repelling cloth. The success of Sid’s experiments unites the cloth manufacturers and their workers, foretelling the loss of their livelihoods, against him. Trying to suppress news of the new fiber, they pursue Sid, who is wearing a suit made of his cloth, through the streets. As they catch up to him, the fibers loose their stability and fall apart. Everybody is happy and relieved, except Sid who is heartbroken. Several days later, Sid moves on, but his smile of happiness indicates renewed inspiration.
A classic Ealing comedy with Guinness in top form as the obsessed scientist. He is supported by a great cast of British character actors, including Joan Greenwood, Cecil Parker, and Michael Gough.
a delightful illustration of how capitalism is inherently at odds with science, workers’ rights and environmentalism.
Ealing Studio classic with Alec Guinness and a stellar cast (Joan Greenwood purrs like a kitten and looks like a young Tallulah). Silly story of man who invents indestructible fabric that will not ever need cleaning and the greedy manufacturers and laborers who fear what it will do to their lives. Lots of slapstick and visual humor.
It's hard to find another film so funny and disturbing as this one.
The Man in the White Suit is one of the quintessential Ealing comedy films. Alec Guinness's performance is fantastic and the film actually deals with some bigger issues without being heavyhanded. It's definitely satirical, and some of the things it has to say are quite interesting.
This is why we can't have nice things.
A well-made capitalist satire; Bleak but overall positive.
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
This list is the Letterboxd version of The Oxford History of World Cinema.
The book celebrates and chronicles over one…