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The Man in the White Suit [UK] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English LPCM 2.0 Mono (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Certification: U
  • Run Time: 85 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: StudioCanal
  • Blu-ray Release Date: November 19, 2012
  • RRP: £19.99

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

Another of the classic comedies from Britain’s famous Ealing Studios, director Alexander Mackendrick’s The Man in the White Suit is a perfectly reserved comedy that the British seem to do best and that lead man Alec Guinness also seemed perfectly suited for. Based on a Roger MacDougall play with a screenplay also from MacDougall, the story follows amateur chemist Sidney Stratton (Guiness) who works in Northern England’s textile mills as a lowly laborer, hoping for a chance to change the world with a brilliant plan to invent a new form of indestructible fabric. At first he bounces around from one mill to the next, especially when one of his experimental devices is found in the laboratory of factory owner Michael Corland (Michael Gough) and he’s written off as a flake. However, he finds himself in the employ of Corland’s competitor and father of the woman he wants to marry, Alan Birnley (Cecil Parker). But when Stratton is found out there, it is Birnley’s daughter Daphne (played by the beautiful Joan Greenwood) who leaps to his rescue. Fascinated by his research, she argues his cause to her father and has him installed in the Birnley lab where he finally invents an indestructible, dirt-repellant white fabric the company plans to unveil. When news of this leaks, however, Stratton soon finds that a fabric of this sort is enough to shake up both labor and corporate sides of the textile industry, and everyone tries their hardest to keep his invention from ever seeing the light of day.

Guinness is pure genius in his role. He is both congenial with just the right amount of public school (in the British sense) snobbishness without arrogance to play the hapless and altruistic scientist. Alongside him is the inimitable Joan Greenwood whose sultry voice is enough to melt men’s hearts, add in her spot-on acting, and she’s one tough lady in this film. The comedy is sly, rather than straightforward and laugh out loud, but it is enough to make this a cheerful and heartfelt classic.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The restoration of this film from StudioCanal is a rather good one. While there are still some spots where source damage is an obvious issue, a layer of natural grain is still present and contrast is strong given the film’s age.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

A fine LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit) track of the original monaural soundtrack is provided on the disc. It is relatively clean, even if it stills sounds somewhat boxy.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

The brief featurette on the film offers up the most information that is relevant and the stills are nice viewing. The restoration comparison offers simple before and afters, but does show the major work that was done on this film to bring it to Blu-ray.

The supplements:

  • Revisiting The Man in the White Suit (1.78:1; 1080i/50; 00:13:20)
  • Stills Gallery (1080p/24)
  • Restoration Comparison (1.37:1; 1080p/24; 00:05:02)
  • Trailer (1.37:1; 1080p/24; 00:02:40)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

The Man in the White Suit is a deftly written, wonderfully acted classic comedy. It also rather smartly turns a mirror on society at large without ever letting on that it’s offering up a sermon. Brilliantly done.

Additional Screen Captures

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]



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