Monday, February 07, 2011

Rooster Cogburn's 'Stash & Headgear in True Grit

February, 7, 2011

A friend of a friend worked on the Coen brother's True Grit and he shared with me some of the hat styles that were considered for Rooster Cogburn. I can't post the photos of Jeff Bridges wearing these various lids, but I can do a sketch of the one I really thought they should have used:

It has flair and style and more importantly, a period hat band. The one they chose unfortunately makes Bridges look like a homeless detective. As you probably know I hate the fedora look in modern Westerns (Daniel Craig sports another one in the forthcoming Cowboys & Aliens), and while it may be somewhat accurate, there are plenty of accurate cowboy hats that could be utilized, like this sweet lid (above). The other liberty I have taken is straight from the Charles Portis book: "[Rooster] had a mustache like [President Grover] Cleveland. . ." Unfortunately, Bridges as Rooster looks more like The Big Lebowski than a member of U.S. Marshal Heck Thomas' crew.

If the Coen's had insisted on using an open crown I would have suggested this:

I would have suggested a haphazard dent in the crown and I would have given the brim a slight uptick on the sides, along with a wide hatband, and, once again, I would have allowed the unshaven whiskers but with a more walrus overhang on the 'stash.

Don't get me wrong, the Coen brother's True Grit is quite wonderful, but with the right hat and whiskers on Bridges, it could have been a damn straight classic for the ages.

As the nitpickers and Hat Nazis are fond of saying, the devil is in the details.

"If I ever meet one of you Texas waddies that says he never drank from a horse track I think I will shake his hand and give him a Daniel Webster cigar."

—Rooster Cogburn to Texas Ranger La Boeuf, in True Grit, by Charles Portis

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