I Do Movies Badly: The Man in the White Suit
Kind Hearts and Coronets may have been delightful but The Man in the White Suit is delightful! A great comedic performance from Alec Guinness centers a film with a clear focus on what it’s satirizing, resulting in enough cathartic laughs and cynicism of capitalism to make Billy Wilder proud.
Sydney Stratton not a “common man” at all, and instead quite uncommon. And he sought out jobs in the textile industry because he was better able to exploit their labs than he had academia, it isn’t really about him being “held back”. Plus, when one mill owner finally does realize what he’s up to, Stratton receives all the support he wants. They aren’t trying to rip him off either, but rather pay him large amounts of money, which Stratton doesn’t care about. I found Bertha a very sympathetic character, but she often only thinks she’s on Stratton’s side because she can’t understand he prioritizes scientific advancement and isn’t concerned with the labor movement. You refer to her & the other unionists as “good guys” and express surprise that Stratton is at odds with them (they even lock him up and then chase after him!), but I got the impression that the middle class filmmakers sympathized mostly with Stratton. After all, his invention really would benefit huge numbers of consumers, who are mostly the “common man” as well. The perfidious alliance of capital & labor against improved productivity at the end actually reminded me of “I’m All Right Jack”.
Regarding Thanksgiving, one thing ancient DNA has shown us is that “population replacement” has been a recurring phenomena throughout time and around the world. European settlement of the Americas is just recent enough that we have written records.