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Film / The Bespoke Overcoat

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The Bespoke Overcoat is a 1955 short film (38 minutes) directed by Jack Clayton.

Morry is a poor Jewish tailor. The film opens with Morry attending the funeral of his old friend Fender, a clerk at clothing manufacturer Ranting and Company. Morry is carrying a nice overcoat, which he throws down into the grave. Back home in his shabby basement room, Morry muses about how much Fender wanted a new "bespoke" (custom-made) overcoat. Much to Morry's surprise, the ghost of Fender suddenly materializes in his room. A series of flashbacks then tell the story of Fender's attempt to obtain a new overcoat to replace his raggedy old one.

An adaptation of a play, which was an adaptation of a short story by Nikolai Gogol.



  • Bad Boss: Ranting is pretty much an ass. He hassles Fender about eating at work. He won't give Fender, an employee for 43 years, a deal on a coat. And then he fires Fender for being old, leaving Fender penniless and indirectly causing his death as Fender can't buy a coat.
  • Downer Beginning: Attending the sad and lonely funeral of your best friend surely qualifies.
  • Flashback: Much of the short is a series of flashbacks that tells of Fender's sad life and his desperate need for the coat.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Fender, probably because he doesn't have a decent coat.
  • Lonely Funeral: Morry appears to be the only mourner at Fender's funeral.
  • Minimalist Cast: The only speaking parts are Morry, Fender, and Ranting.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Fender is completely corporeal: he can drink brandy toasts with Morry, and they can dance a jig together. When they arrive at Ranting and Company, Morry challenges Fender to walk through the wall, but Fender declines, saying "It's silly."
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  • Starts with Their Funeral: Starts with a melancholy Morry attending Fender's funeral. So Morry is pretty surprised when Fender turns up at his house.
  • Unfinished Business: Fender is pretty pissed off at how badly Ranting treated him. So while he has the "bespoke overcoat" that Morry left on his coffin, he decides that what he really wants is a fancy sheepskin overcoat from Ranting and Co. He and Morry steal one.


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