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One of the new hats we predict to be a top seller this summer is the Dobbs Center Dent Shantung Straw Fedora. Naturally the classic styling and light-weight shantung straw will turn heads while remaining …

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Hollywood Hatties–The Chicago Way

Submitted by Nathaniel Cerf on October 9, 2010 – 7:19 pm8 Comments

As we’re a proud Chicago company, it only seems right to tackle the ultimate G-man movie set in our fair city: “The Untouchables.”

This 1987 tour de force directed by Brian dePalma stars Kevin Costner as Treasury agent Eliot Ness taking on Prohibition-era crime boss Al Capone (Robert DeNiro). As if the bootleggers have a chance when Ness is backed by incorruptible lawmen played by Sean Connery, Andy Garcia and Charles Martin Smith?

Kevin Costner plays Eliot Ness in the movie "The Untouchables" while wearing a hat similar to this Stetson Downs.

Forget that this is an incredible crime drama that features the best gunfight ever filmed. (Need I remind you of Costner chasing a baby buggy down the stairs at Union Station as he battles nearly a dozen of Capone’s men?) This film is the ultimate showcase of men’s hats.

Virtually all of the actors with speaking roles have hats, and at least 75% of the male extras have hats, too. Best of all, the wardrobe department didn’t just buy 200 Stetson Temples of different colors and call it good. Dozens of hat styles are represented.

None of the prominent hats are doubled up. Kevin Costner wears a grey Stetson Downs cocked back high on his head for most of the movie. The teardrop-shaped crown is distinctive. He also wears the hat several ways. During the scenes where he is in the city the snap brim in down in front and up in the back. In the scenes at the Canadian border he wears the same hat with the brim down in the front and back.

Andy Garcia’s hat looks similar, but in our shop the closest we have to it is the Biltmore Ark. His is pecan, and he’s a strictly front brim down and back brim up type of cat.

In old cowboy movies the good guys always wore white hats and the bad guys wore black. Oddly enough in “The Untouchables,” most of the good guys wore teardrop-crown hats and the mobsters wore center-creased fedoras. DeNiro’s Capone wore a cream-colored fedora with a black band. It has a narrow center crease with a pinch that almost runs the length of the crown. Its wide snap brim sports a lift on the right side and a downturn on left side. A great hat that resembles it in our shop is the straw Stetson Portofino. It would need a replacement band in black, but that will be the closest hat we have in shape.

Sean Connery’s hat is the only prominently featured non-fedora that isn’t a hat that goes with a uniform. His appears to be an eight-panel cap made of brown wool similar to our brown 8-panel Cavanaugh Donegal. It is a hat that invokes blue-collar Irish immigrants of that era, which Connery’s character is one—despite his Scotch brogue. It is also a hat design that has seen a great resurgence in popularity in that past few years.

Charles Martin Smith’s character is that of a mild-mannered Treasury Dept. accountant turned shotgun wielding lawman—a slightly more intelligent Elmer Fudd, if you will. His hat of choice appears to be a Churchill Jimmy, distinguished by a teardrop crown, grosgrain dress band and smaller snap brim.

But really, watch the movie, and you’ll see myriad hats including bowlers, boaters and fedoras of every distinguishable difference. Grosgrain bow bands, bowless silk bands, countless center dent variations, colors and brim widths. Got a question about one? Get a screen shot of it, and we’ll help you find it in our vast selection.

8 comments on “Hollywood Hatties–The Chicago Way

  1. magnific on said:

    this is the way a blog should be! thanks!

    • Vittoria on said:

      I have the same Open Road but in dark brown. Wore it once with a replica Spanish American war uiofnrm. I had to flatten the brim and pinch the crown in order to make it look field worn’. Plus I had to punch holes in the crown to put my rank in. I felt so Charlton Heston-ish. It looked like I had spent 55 Days in Peking .

  2. Ron Tedwater on said:

    Great work keep it coming

  3. opthamologist on said:

    It’s really a nice and helpful piece of information. I’m glad that you shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Love it! I own 27 Vintage Fedoras, which I wear everyday. I am 55 and started this 1 year ago, I ask myself, “What took me so long?” Better late than never. I feel great when I wear my hats. If you stop by my house, you will find I have a fedora on my head even indoors.

    Tony C.

  5. Philip L. Beckerich on said:

    What style hat and color did Charlton Heston wear in 55 Days at Peking? The websites says he was a US Army Major. He portrayed a US Marine Corps Major hence the Eagle, Globe and Anchor on the side of the hat.

    • Nathaniel Cerf on said:

      Hi Philip,
      That’s a tough one. We don’t have a hat exactly like the one from the 1963 classic. In the Google images we saw for the movie, it looks like he’s wearing a custom beat up cowboy hat with a front dent in addition to the center dent crown design. It has has a ribbon that ties up in the front of the crown. The closest we have to that is a Bailey Three D. The pecan color is much lighter than the website shows, but not quite as light a brown as Heston’s hat in the film. It has a wire brim that can be customized to fit any shape you want, but it comes in a shape close to the one in the movie. The hat band is completely different. It is the closest overall hat we have though. I hope that helps, and best of luck on your quest for a similar hat.

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