Sometimes, as Freud pointed out, a cigar is just a cigar. But a hat is rarely just that – at least not in the movies. The artistic use of everyday objects as signifiers goes back at least as far as Homer, and probably to cave paintings. And the humble hat, due to its inevitable association with the human head, comes with immense symbolic potency. Classic Hollywood was brim-full of them – Humphrey Bogart was presumably born in a fedora – but let's not forget the more recent fashions. Arguably the most headgear-centric film of all time is Miller's Crossing: a movie with more metaphorically significant hats than you could shake a schtick at.
The hat can be used as a shorthand for good or evil. It