The Man In The White Suit is the latest Ealing film to get a Blu-ray release from Studio Canal. The story deals with biochemist Sidney Stratton (the brilliant Alec Guinness) who appears to have created a fabric which resists wear and stains in a textile mill up in the North of England. But he finds himself increasingly marginalised when he finds himself isolated and without allies when both the manufacturers and the factory workers want to bury his invention. Directed by American Alexander Mackendrick (The Sweet Smell of Success), The Man In The White Suit is more of a bittersweet drama than an out and out comedy, with Stratton first introduced on screen as a factory janitor rather than a fully fledged scientist. Guinness is the stand-out here but it also has an excellent supporting cast including British cinema staples like Cecil Parker as mill owner Alan Birnley and the mesmerising Joan Greenwood as his daughter Daphne. It has dated a little but it is still a wonderful snapshot of Britain in the early fifties, albeit a slightly artificial feeling North of England. It deserves a Blu-ray release just as much as The Ladykillers, Lavender Hill Mob and Kind Hearts and Coronets and if a viewer hasn’t seen this film and they’re an Ealing aficionado, they’re in for a treat.



The film Kill List, which came out early this year at the cinema, has just hit DVD and as I missed it on the big screen, I thought I’d check it out on the small one. A British film directed by Ben Wheatley (Down Terrace), Kill List has as its central protagonists ex-soldier and now assassin Jay (Neil Maskell) and his partner Gal (Michael Smiley). Jay has a wife, Shel (MyAnna Buring), who is fully aware of what her husband does for a living but Gal is not married. Promised a big payoff for three seemingly simple jobs, the pair find themselves in a situation that’s anything but simple. Kill List is well-acted, well-directed and with a decent script but the big reveal at the end, where the film takes a different direction, isn’t totally credible and it doesn’t quite hold together as a single cohesive idea. However Maskell and Smiley are both very good as is Buring and director Wheatley also acquits himself well, so it’s definitely worth watching. Kill List isn’t a wholy satisfying production but people interested in modern British filmmaking should check it out…



Quatermass and The Pit, also known as Five Million Years To Earth in the US, is the third film featuring Nigel Kneale’s scientist creation. The professor gets involved with a case involving paleontologists unearthing mystery skeletons at a fictional Tube station, Hobbs End, in west London. This time, the eponymous scientist is played by Scottish actor Andrew Keir rather than Northern Irish-born American actor Brian Donlevy, who Hammer brought in for the first two. Released on Blu-ray for the first time, Quatermass and The Pit has its share of naive charm with its images of late sixties London and enjoyable support from fellow Scottish actor James Donald as Dr Matthew Roney. Admittedly the Martians look like giant rubber locusts (presumably because they are) but this is the sort of enjoyable nonsense that we used to excel at in this country. Keir is very likeable on screen and Julian Glover as the pompous Colonel Breen is suitably oleaginous. Quatermass and The Pit is a fun ride and it’s only right that it’s got a Blu-ray release…