Tag Archives: Joan Greenwood

The Man in the White Suit

By Josephine Grahl

Paul Kinsey: It’s from the future, a place so close to us now,
filled with wonder and ease.

Don Draper: Except some people think of the future and it upsets them. They see a rocket, they start building a bomb shelter.

— Mad Men

There are films which seem as though they come from another world. The Man In The White Suit (1951)  is one of those. In some ways it’s a straightforward comedy about unforeseen consequences; but in another way, it’s a film about a world that might have been but never was – that might have been but now never can be.

Sidney Stratton (Alec Guinness) is a maverick research scientist in the textile industry occupied with synthesising a new fabric. As a researcher, he’s fired from several mills, but then finds himself working for Birnley’s, first as a labourer and then, by accident, as a researcher. The gradual sequence in which he appears, peering from behind his lab equipment, disappearing behind a door, to the gentle ‘blip… bloop’ of his chemical process is a gently comical delight.

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