Monday, September 5, 2016

Great movie hats

I re-watched some old favorite movies recently, at work I've watched Rio Bravo a couple of time over the last week or so and Jaws just hit Netflix so I was watching it with my daughter over the weekend, so naturally I'm thinking about hats.

Quint's hat and Chance's hat have a lot of character, more so than other characters in the movies. The hats are a natural extension of the characters that wear them. They have their own full lives, adventures, scars, and histories that are clearly visible. They are natural extensions of the characters that comfortably wear them. Are the characters wearing the hat, or is the hat wearing them? No one else could ever wear those hats like those two men do, and no one else would dare try. Those are great hats. Those are powerful hats. Some of the best hats that have ever graced the screen.

I would argue that John Wayne's hat is the greatest movie hat ever if only for a simple fact. It is the same hat (or, one of a small collection) that he wore for a significant number of his movies. By the hat gets to the set of Rio Bravo it has led a full life. No wonder Wayne and the hat fit so comfortably together.
I would argue that Quint's hat could be the one of the greatest movie Easter eggs. There has been a few discussions over the years on hat forums about what kind of hat Quint wears. There isn't a consensus (hence the could). But one of the suggestions is a U.S. Navy Sailor's Baseball Cap, WWII. Assume that this is actually what the hat is and let that sink in for a moment. The defining moment of Quint's life was the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. When telling of his time in the water, after the Indianapolis sank, Quint only mentions one person by name, his friend Herbie Robinson, who was a baseball player. I posit that Quint is wearing Herbie Robinson's hat.

After the Indianapolis speech Quint doesn't wear the hat any more. And without it, his actions become more crazed. He dons the hat briefly, with his shirt buttoned up to his neck and his jacket sitting proper and straight (all of  which is carried differently than the disheveled look we've seen on Quin so far). It's an act, he want to appear sane, for just a few moments, to tell Brody and Hooper that he plans on going back to shore. This is a ruse, as his true intent is to burn the boat's engine out. He never again wears the hat.


Rick said...

I would like to add a bit about fedoras in the movies or in new TV productions. Why are the fedoras in FOYLE'S WAR so badly made? It's the 40's for goodness sake and the hat was a major part of a man's wardrobe. Those hats were well made. For this period piece they must have found a hat maker whose only available material was crepe paper. I like the show but hate those hats. Why would they not spend the money to have a more authentic headpiece made?

Art Taylor said...

We spent nearly an entire class period one day talking about the importance of hats in MILLER'S CROSSING....

Fun post here.