The 'British Warm' Overcoat
If the film makers of the mid 20th century needed to show that their character was a former army officer - ideally a retired major or colonel - there was one item of clothing that he would wear: the 'British Warm' overcoat.
Nothing says 'ex-officer' better than putting a man into a light brown double breasted coat, made from heavy Melton wool, complete with leather football buttons. Whether the officer is a fine upstanding pillar of the community or a rogue, the coat is his badge of rank (whether or not the rank is real).
So here goes:
|Stewart Granger as 'Colonel' Adam Black in Adam & Evelyne|
|Stewart Granger in Adam & Evelyne|
|Terry-Thomas as a down-on-his-luck retired army officer, turned fur thief, in Make Mine Mink|
|Cecil Parker as 'Major Courtney' in The Ladykillers|
|Aubrey Dexter as 'The Major' in Saloon Bar (1940)|
|Michael Gwynne in Village of the Damned|
|And here's your author showing that you don't have to be a major (or even a colonel) to wear one!|
And here, if you are interested, is a link to a page that tells you all about the history of the style and it's beginnings as a military greatcoat: Gentleman's Gazette.