The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Tom Rath (Gregory Peck) is a man who seems to have a great lifestyle, he has a good job, a family, and he is often in good spirits. He is always well dressed, focused on his tasks, and usually has a smile on his face, sure signs of personal and professional happiness, right? In truth, Rath is worn down and feeling the tolls his busy life has taken on his mind and body. He commutes to his Madison Avenue office from small town Connecticut, which shaves a lot of free time from his hands. He wakes early, puts in his full day at work, then gets home late and soon enough, has to do it all over again. As if his current stress levels weren’t high enough, his wife wants him to find a better job, to afford a better lifestyle. He obliges, but soon finds himself crushed under the increased burden, as his mind begins to break down. His job, his homelife, and his past all weigh down on him, but can he shoulder such an intense burden?

As I’ve said time and again, the Fox Studio Classics line has been a godsend to fans of classic cinema, with dozens of great releases. The movies, both the famous and not so famous ones, are usually terrific and Fox makes sure to deliver a top notch treatment, with visual restoration and fine selections of supplements. This kind of disc could be expensive if released by some studios, but Fox markets these at such a low price, its hard not to pick up each new release. I’d never seen The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, but I looked forward to the movie, as the story seemed to have good potential. After all, we all have to balance work and family, commitments and freedom, so these universal themes can be quite effective in cinema. But this movie is so long and doesn’t make good use of the time, which causes an immense drag at times. I like the story, but this could have been a more compact film, to be sure. This turns out to be more of a timepiece, a movie that captures a certain era, but too much downtime keeps this from being a great movie. Even so, fans of Gregory Peck should give it a rental, though all others will probably be put to sleep.

Video: How does it look?

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. As the included restoration comparison illustrates, this treatment is an improvement over previous incarnations. Even so, I was a little disappointed with this presentation. I understand that visual limitations are part of the package with older films however, so I am not being overly critical. The print is in good condition, but there is a lot of softness here and it can be cumbersome. Not to the point that you’d shut off the movie, but enough to make you wish more work had been done. Then again, perhaps that is the intent, but I can’t say for sure and as such, I will assume it is due to limitations of the source material. The movie still looks more than decent though, so don’t think this is a bad transfer, I am just spoiled, I suppose.

Audio: How does it sound?

The 2.0 surround option here is solid, but given the age of the film and limits of sound design at the time, we shouldn’t expect miracles. I wasn’t let down here, as the elements come through in solid form, but I just found the whole track to be somewhat limited. But the dialogue is clean and when the surrounds are used, it has a natural presence. The surround use minimal, but that is to be expected in this case.. So this is not a bad soundtrack per se, so no need for concern. This disc also includes French and Spanish language tracks, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This movie runs over two and a half hours, so it is no surprise that James Monaco is unable to provide a consistent session. He talks about the 1950s in general, which adds some perspective for younger viewers, then mixes in comments on the film and those involved. As expected, a number of long pauses stretch out the session, but Monaco is more than solid. But he is selective in which cast members he covers, so don’t expect a exhaustive look into the players. This disc also includes a restoration comparison, MovieTone newsreel of the film’s premiere, and the film’s theatrical trailer.

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