Hats are the unsung heroes of cinematic costume design. They could be a toque on a chef, a newsboy cap on a newsboy, or even a towel wrapped around a woman fresh out of the shower. They shield our head from sunlight, keep hair out of our customer’s food, and keep our heads warm when it’s kind of cold outside.
Hats have a vivid and rich history in Hollywood. It’s no coincidence that the Golden Age of Hollywood coincided with the Golden Age of American Hats. It’s also no coincidence that Cowboys and Aliens, an incredibly bad film, was released during a period in America when the only people wearing hats were people in nightclubs and Ryan Murphy.
I have just proven the correlation between hat prevalence and the quality of films Hollywood produces. Let us now take a trip down hat-memory lane by looking at 9 iconic hats in film history and the heads that they covered.
Ever the symbol of refinement, this particular bowler hat first surfaces in The Thomas Crown Affair as a reference to Magritte’s famed painting “The Great War.” In a sly nod to the intimation that Thomas Crown is nothing more than an anonymous businessman, he completes his final heist at the Met using dozens of similarly dressed men, all wearing bowler hats.
I don’t appreciate that this film implies a correlation between bowler hat-wearing and criminal activity; rather, I prefer to think of the correlation as between bowler hat-wearing and having sex with Rene Russo, which Thomas Crown also does.
“G’day, friend-o! Let’s barbecue some shrimp on the grill!”
In Crocodile Dundee, a rugged outback hero collides with urban living as a reporter takes him back to the States in order to complete a story she is writing on him. His hat is black with a wide brim. It features an alligator band and has alligator teeth arrange around it in symmetrical fashion. This hat is both rugged and pleasing to the eye. So much so, actually, that I tried to recreate it using a baseball cap to which I scotch-taped all my saved baby teeth and wore for a year. The fact that I was 28 and gainfully employed when I did this led to several human resources complaints, and ultimately my own office.
Overall, a wonderful hat.
Oddjob’s hat, like Thomas Crown’s is a black bowler hat. Also like Thomas Crown, Oddjob’s wearing of this hat conjures up images of criminal activity, as its razor sharp metal edges were used to kill people in the James Bond film Goldfinger. People should not be killed, nor bowler hats thrown. When they’re not resting on a man’s head, they should be placed in a hat box to maintain both their shape and cleanliness. Oddjob’s reckless hat behavior should not be celebrated, but it should be remembered so as not to be repeated by future generations.