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  1. #1
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    In 1993 I was in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and had the unexpected pleasure and surprise to meet the man who the story was based on-I would be happy to discuss further and wondered if anybody else had any info on this chap, or if it is possible to get in touch with Roger Macdougall.


  2. #2
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Dec 2002
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    Roger MacDougall died in 1993.

    Was The Man in the White Suit based on a true story? I always thought it was a fictional morality tale.

    MacDougall wrote it as a play and then it was made into a film by his cousin Alexander Mackendrick. MacDougall was afflicted by Multiple Sclerosis. Diagnosed in 1953 he did very well, keeping it at bay with a special diet. See web page.

  3. #3
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    The story is TRUE!

    whilst spending a day a beach in Corbyns Cove, in the Andaman Islands, I sat talking to an old yet very young couple(they were snorkling to be exact).

    I started to discuss the many peculiarities of the islands( Its development, mineral exploration, and human rights abuses)he started reminising back to the war and post war years in India where he worked for ICI developing explosives.He told me of the issues then and now, and as he reminissed it began to dawn on me.

    He worked for ICI in the UK before his posting to India, something to do with dying processes.

    He carried round with him one of only two samples left from the trials-the other is in the vault of ICI.It was a place mat and knapkins for a dinner set, the colour.... Jade Green (from the film rem. Mr Green).The colours were still true and the material didnt fade or tarnish.It was as new as the day he made it.

    I wish i could remember more but ididnt make any notes or take any pics, the meeting was very surreal-it didnt dawn on me till a few days later, too late.

    The ref. in the film to Explosives further proof,and in meeting him his attitdes to life, work, society and human kind ring true of the character the film depicts-COINSIDENSE?

    I just wish i could remember his name.

    Any more info is greatly welcomed or futher details-

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: England
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    Apr 2003
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    In 1941 two chemists working at the British Calico Printers Association in Manchester, J.R.Whinfield and J.T.Dickson discovered a new synthetic fibre, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) which was developed by ICI and maunufactured as 'terylene' in this country and by the DuPont company in America as 'dacron'. It was very strong and hardwearing and crease and dirt resistant, similar to the fabric in the film.

    It was also impossible to dye by the traditional processes used for natural fibres and new dyeing processes were developed at ICI Fibres Research at Harrogate in Yorkshire.

    In real life the textile industry were somewhat underwhelmed by this new discovery and it took many years for it to be accepted.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Nov 2002
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    Political comedy at its best

    New Statesman, by Jonathan Coe.

    Everyone knows about the Ealing comedies; or at least everyone has an opinion about them, which is perhaps not quite the same thing. You can still find diehard nostalgics who will swear that no British films were ever more delightful. They will twitter on about charm and eccentricity, and seem to think Ealing was responsible for every bit of humorous whimsy that ever appeared on British cinema screens, including Genevieve and Oh, Mr Porter. Mention the Ealing comedies to any cineaste under about 40, on the other hand, and you can brace yourself for a torrent of invective about provincial narrow-mindedness, snobbery, sexual repression, verbosity, archhess and sentimental nationalism.

    Almost half a century after the studio's heyday, Ealing still looms large in the British cinematic consciousness, and that is a tribute to the lasting achievements of Michael Balcon and his fluctuating roster of writers, producers and directors. There's a sense, it's true, in which his legacy was a baneful one. Few good comedies have come out of Britain in the last three decades (could anyone name half a dozen?) and the explanation for that must lie, in part, with our filmmakers' horror at the thought of falling back into the twee complacencies of Passport to Pimlico and The Titfield Thunderbolt.

    But there was also a harder undercurrent to some of the Ealing comedies usually whenever the directors Robert Hamer and Alexander Mackendrick managed to smuggle it under Balcon's nose - and a couple of them still look like masterpieces. For its literary (not filmic) sensibility and comic heartlessness, Kind Hearts and Coronets can stand comparison with the best novels of Evelyn Waugh. And better still is Mackendrick's The Man in the White Suit which, 46 years on, has some claim to be considered the only really mature and generous political comedy ever to be made in this country.

    The Man in the White Suit, as few people need to be reminded, is a comedy about a scientist (Alec Guinness) who invents a new kind of fabric that never wears out and never gets dirty. The story unfolds in an unspecified northern town and spirals into farcical chaos when management and labour finally join forces to suppress an invention which will undoubtedly make both of them obsolete. Oddly enough, Mackendrick originally conceived the film as "a comic way to deal with the moral issue of the invention of nuclear weapons": Guinness was supposed to represent "the so-called disinterested scientist, totally reckless and totally inconsiderate of the consequences of his actions". But somewhere along the line, the theme of industrial relations took over and Mackendrick's rigorous intelligence - abetted by fine, sympathetic performances from the likes of Cecil Parker and Vida Hope - treated it with far more warmth and agility than the Boulting brothers managed with their sour plagueon-both-your-houses approach in I'm All Right, Jack a few years later.

    I thought about Mackendrick's film some weeks ago while watching The Full Monty, a political comedy about a group of disillusioned men from Sheffield - former steelworkers, now unemployed and impoverished - who take up stripping in order to raise some cash. Though slightly rough around the edges it's very funny and very likeable; but to watch it alongside The Man in the White Suit is still to sense that something fundamental has gone missing from our film-making culture.

    Of course the social landscape has changed almost beyond recognition between the making of these two films. Both contain sequences that hymn the romance and excitement of industry: White Suit with its documentary-style montages of spinning looms and busy production lines, The Full Monty with clips from a grisly 1970s advertising film for "Sheffield, City of Steel". But Cattaneo has a brutal sense of irony, and immediately cuts from this to a deserted factory 20 years later, with bits of industrial debris flapping in the breeze around its gutted interior. In a few seconds we have been made to realise that the entire world on which The Man in the White Suit was predicated - all its comic stand-offs between management and labour, its polite but deadly class warfare, its social nuance - has vanished for ever. And the void that has been left by this wholesale collapse of manufacturing industry can only be filled by one thing: sex.

    Sex is present in The Man in the White Suit but as in all of the Ealing films it is dealt with obliquely, through layers of embarrassed understatement. Alec Guinness seduces Joan Greenwood by babbling on at her about chemical formulae, and her arousal is signalled by nothing more blatant than the spread of a slow, delighted pout across her puzzled face. By the time of The Full Monty, however, the world has become thoroughly, monomaniacally sexualised: the power relations imposed by the labour market have dissolved and all that remains is a leering, animal curiosity between the sexes. In the postindustrial landscape, working men who find no takers for their traditional skills have only one marketable commodity left: their bodies, which must be offered up to the inspection of baying women, themselves victims of sexually unsatisfying marriages.

    By this description, it sounds as though TheFull Monty is offering a far bleaker and more extreme portrait of Britain than Ealing would ever have dared in the 1950s; but somehow it still feels the more conservative film. If our sense of social and economic opportunity seems to have shrivelled to nothing in the past few decades, perhaps it has taken our sense of cinematic possibility with it. There's so much poetry, so much confidence in The Man in the White Suit:. it believes in a breadth of register that can encompass comedy of manners, romantic melodrama and social satire, combine outright caricature with plausible characterisation, and tell a complex story economically while still finding room for visual images of a startling, surreal beauty such as the sight of a horizontal Alec Guinness, the glow of his luminescent suit against the night sky turning him into a photographic negative, hanging from the wall of an industrialist's mansion by a single unbreakable thread.

    And yet in the 1990s, just as the heroes of The Full Monty can only think of one way to earn a living, so British political comedy seems to know only one way of handling a narrative: soap-opera realism, with dialogue and performances never straying from the naturalistic path and cinematography so drab that only the size of the screen reminds us we're not watching television. The career choices available to working men and women in the industrial north may have withered to nothingness since The Man in the White Suit was made. Need the film-maker's options really have dwindled so fearfully as well?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Country: England
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    Film-makers horror?Twee complacencies?Has this person ever watched "Passport to Pimlico"?I agree that British comedy films have dwindled,but to put the blame at Ealing's door?...I have a feeling we have another "hip" critic that believes anything older than five years was produced by Noah!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Country: Europe Bernardo's Avatar
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    My garden conjures up the film The Man in the white suit. I repaired the pond filter and it gurgles and whoops in a regular rhythm reminiscent of the comic sound effect to set the mood when the scientist is up to his tricks again. Silly I know but amusing to have that sound ever present to provoke good memories of my hobby.

  8. #8
    Member Country: India
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    India truly was devasted during the reign of Brits , But its not the people who invaded India its the mistake of Indians Who let them stay in India.
    India is truly rich in heritage , culture and values as many can see it even today , its easy to spec what I ndia has to offer to the world.

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