The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit

1956 movie

Rating: 13/20

Plot: Meet Tom Rath--WWII veteran, businessman, father, titular man, generally nondescript guy. He's got a nice home in Connecticut, a nice job in New York, a loving wife, some loud children. But Tom Rath isn't without his problems. He's haunted by things that happened in the war, and money's tight. So when a fellow commuter shows him an open door leading into the chromium jungle, Rath decides to enter.

I like the general ideas here, the character study of a guy who superficially is as mundane as the gray suit he wears to the job but who, like most people, has so much bubbling subcutaneously. The color gray's important, too, as Rath is a character who you really can't define in blacks and whites. The almost alarming thing about The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit is the lack of depth, especially given how long this movie is. Overlong even. This is technicolor melodrama wading in the shallow end of a swimming pool filled with squirmy things. It skims along the story's surfaces like a stone, bouncing across issues like war trauma, infidelity, career changes, the importance of money, the importance of family, honesty, and a man's moral obligations. But you only get ripples, not anything to really reflect upon or digest. I also didn't like Gregory Peck. I've liked him before, and I wish I sounded like him when I talked because I think it would be funny to say things like "Oh, man. My underpants are bunched up again!" in a Gregory Peck voice. Or, "I'd give top dollar for a nipple-softening machine." But here, Gregory Peck is cardboard, and cardboard, when you put it in water of any depth, just gets soggy and useless. I'm fairly positive this is the longest movie I've ever seen.

Readers, what words do you think would sound funny if spoken by Gregory Peck?

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