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Alec Guiness proves that progress is not good news for all
on 8 November 2000
As so often in Ealing comedies, the common man against the system is the theme of this film. In this much, "The Man in the White Suit" echoes the the battle to save a village railway in "The Titfield Thunderbolt", and the ordinary Londoners' stand against arrogant officialdom in "Passport to Pimlico". Mild-mannered genius Alec Guinness invents an everlasting fabric, making himself unpopular with textile workers and bosses alike, but making him a big hit with Joan Greenwood. Throughout the film, he remains single-mindedly devoted to his miracle fabric, and somewhat oblivious to the amorous attentions of both Greenwood and one of his factory co-workers played by Vida Hope. The film includes some brilliant comic moments, particularly as a succession of unwitting employers discover just how much of their money Guinness has been syphoning off to pay for the development of his invention.