The Man in the White Suit (1951)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Satire  |   Release Date - Aug 7, 1951 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 82 min.  |   Countries - UK  |  
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Few movies define "droll" better than this dry and subtle comedy that gently nudges laughter from its audience. In the tradition of other great Ealing comedies of the 1940s and 1950s, The Man in the White Suit sets up its comic premise with well-crafted care (the screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award), and the cast splendidly brings its genial eccentrics to life. Alec Guinness is superb as the cheerfully obsessive scientist Sidney Stratton, who despite his peculiarities seems genuinely driven to improve the world; Guinness's determination, genial self-confidence, and dash of private school arrogance make Sidney more than a standard absent-minded genius. Director Alexander Mackendrick gives the material just the right amount of buoyancy while playing the comedy with sly simplicity; if The Man in the White Suit aims for chuckles rather than belly laughs, it generates enough of them to be an engaging and intelligent entertainment from start to finish.