The Bespoke Overcoat

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The Bespoke Overcoat
The Bespoke Overcoat.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Jack Clayton
Produced by George K. Arthur
Jack Clayton
Written by Nikolai Gogol
Wolf Mankowitz
Starring Alfie Bass
David Kossoff
Cinematography Wolfgang Suschitzky
Edited by Stan Hawkes
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date
  • 7 October 1956 (1956-10-07)
Running time
33 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £5,000[1]

The Bespoke Overcoat is a 1956 British short film directed by Jack Clayton, based on a 1953 play of the same name by Wolf Mankowitz. The story is an adaptation of Nikolai Gogol's short story The Overcoat with the action moved from Russia to the East End of London. In this version the protagonists are poor Jews working in the clothing trade. It won an Academy Award at the 29th Academy Awards in 1957 for Best Short Subject (Two-Reel).[2][3] The play was performed at the Arts Theatre in London with Kossoff and Bass and was directed by Alec Clunes. The supporting cast was Harold Kasket and Oscar Quitak.[4]


Fender is a lowly clerk in the warehouse of clothing manufacturers Ranting and Co. His one ambition is to have an overcoat of his own. Refused one by the coldhearted Ranting, he asks a tailor friend, Morry, to make him one instead, but dies of cold before he can take delivery of it. Unwilling to give up his only desire even in death, he returns as a ghost to persuade Morry to steal him the overcoat he so coveted in life.[5]


Pauline Kael called The Bespoke Overcoat "one of the best short-story films ever made".[6]



  1. ^ Alexander Walker, Hollywood, England, Stein and Day, 1974 p51
  2. ^ "The 29th Academy Awards (1957) Nominees and Winners". Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  3. ^ "New York Times: The Bespoke Overcoat". NY Times. Retrieved 20 May 2008. 
  4. ^ Mankowitz, Wolf (2006). The Plays. London: Oberon Books. ISBN 978-1840026993. 
  5. ^ "The Bespoke Overcoat (1956)". Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Kael, Pauline (2011) [1991]. 5001 Nights at the Movies. New York: Henry Holt and Company. p. 63. ISBN 978-1-250-03357-4. 

External links[edit]