Movie/The Man In The White Suit
The Man In The White Suit is a 1951 science-fiction comedy film that was directed by Alexander Mackendrick and produced by Ealing Studios. It stars Alec Guinness as Sidney Stratton, a chemist who invents an experimental fabric that never wears out and is completely impervious to stains. Sidney is working as a laborer at a textile mill when he creates the fabric and soon he's lauded as a genius by the management of the mill, who see the commercial potential of his invention, but it isn't long before both management and labor decide that Sidney's fabric could put them all out of work and attempt to convince him to sign away his rights to it. The film was nominated for Best British Film & Best Film from any Source at the 1952 BAFTA Film Awards and Best Picture at the 1953 Academy Awards, as well as being named the 58th greatest British film of all time by the British Film Institute and included in The Guardian's list of the 20 best British science fiction films.
Aside from it simply being a brilliantly written, nearly flawlessly acted and absolutely hilarious film, there are a few more specific reasons why I'm recommending The Man In The White Suit. Firstly, despite it being a 65 year old science fiction comedy, the science seems very solid. I'm sure that if I had a degree in chemistry, then I could probably poke a few holes in it, but according to my reasonably fair, layman's understanding, it holds up and that's all that I can ask from any science fiction story. Secondly, the film treats all sides in its conflict fairly. Not only does it place both management and labor on a practically equal footing by pitting them both against Sidney, but none of the characters in either strata are mocked or demonized, their concerns are never belittled and, even though the film is, by and large, on Sidney's side and his ending his hopeful, he doesn't exactly win and he's really not much better off at the end of the story than he was at the beginning of it. Finally, The Man In The White Suit is timeless. Aside from modernizing some of the dialogue, the film could be remade verbatim today and the story would be just as relevant as it likely was in 1951. The BFI and The Guardian were completely right, The Man In The White Suit is not only one of the greatest science fiction films of all time, but one of the greatest films of all time in any genre and a personal favorite of mine that I can't recommend highly enough.
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