THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT
1951, Rialto Pictures, 85 min, UK, Dir: Alexander Mackendrick

When research chemist Alec Guinness creates a fabric that never wears out or gets dirty, the entire British textile industry gives chase - to suppress an invention that would eventually render it obsolete. This richly satirical look at how progress creates unlikely alliances (between labor and capital) and divisions (between science and business) is one of the Ealing Studios’ brightest comedies. With Joan Greenwood.


THE LADYKILLERS
1955, Rialto Pictures, 91 min, UK, Dir: Alexander Mackendrick

Among the last of the great Ealing Studios comedies, and one of the few shot in color, this delightful film stars Alec Guinness as Professor Marcus, a musician who rents a room from a widow (Katie Johnson) to use as a rehearsal space. At least that’s what he tells her; Marcus and his “string quartet” (which includes Peter Sellers and his future PINK PANTHER nemesis, Herbert Lom) are actually criminals plotting a robbery. When the old lady finally realizes the truth, the gang decides to kill her - but that’s easier said than done.


KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS
1949, Rialto Pictures, 106 min, UK, Dir: Robert Hamer

“It is so difficult to make a neat job of killing people with whom one is not on friendly terms,” reflects Louis Mazzini (a marvelously droll Dennis Price), who gets closer to his mother’s estranged family for the sole purpose of bumping them off and inheriting a dukedom. The eight members of the D'Ascoyne clan who stand between Mazzini and his title are all played by Alec Guinness, whose remarkable turns as British aristocrats of various ages and genders earned a National Board of Review Best Actor award. Among the first and best of the legendary Ealing Studios comedies.


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