Sean Connery as Jim Malone, tough and honest Chicago beat cop
Canadian border, September 1930
Film: The Untouchables
Release Date: June 3, 1987
Director: Brian De Palma
Costume Designer: Marilyn Vance
Recently recruited off the streets of Chicago, aging beat cop Jim Malone is more than happy to bring his grizzled brand of tough justice to the Canadian border to assist federal agent Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) and their small but effective band of “untouchable” lawmen in stopping an illegal shipment of liquor from making its way into the United States.
While staking out the border, Malone taps into his extensive experience of walking the cold Chicago late night beat to offer sage wisdom to his younger colleagues, from stamping their feet to keep warm to not excessively checking their guns. Thus, when the time comes, the four dedicated officers are as ready as they can be, rerouting the criminals with enough firepower that sends them either scrambling on foot or straight to the morgue.
“Alright, enough of this running shit!” Malone shouts to Al Capone’s bookkeeper, George (Brad Sullivan), one of the lucky members of the former group. Malone drags George back to the cabin for an interrogation designed to get the bookkeeper to turn on his infamous criminal boss, but the Mounties’ white-handed methods hardly intimidate their captive… leading Malone to take matters into his own hands with the help of his .38 and a freshly dead gangster he found on the porch.
What’d He Wear?
With the post-Thanksgiving hunting season imminent, let’s take a look at Jim Malone’s warm, comfortable, and classic layers as he joins his fellow “untouchables” essentially hunting bootleggers at the Canadian border.
Malone’s outer layer is a barleycorn tweed coat in a cool shade of brown, styled in the unorthodox combination of double-breasted coat with notch lapels. The broad lapels with their wide notches roll down to a low button stance that consists of a top row of two widely spaced vestigal buttons above four buttons in a two-by-two square formation.
Malone’s coat blends outerwear sensibilities with the detailing and cut of a sport jacket, creating a unique cut suggestive of a well-traveled, experienced professional who knows how to get the most mileage out of his limited clothing.
The ventless back has an actual half-belt that hangs around the back of the waist, comprised of two straps that fasten in the center on a single button. Each sleeve tightens with a slim, single-button semi-tab around the cuff—a device more informed by the coat’s outerwear context—and the jacket has two flapped bellows pockets on the hips.
Malone keeps his neck and chest warm by tying on a soft wool scarf, widely striped in navy blue and hunter green with slim beige and red accent stripes in between them.
Added warmth comes from Malone’s intermediate layer, a gray shawl-collar cardigan knitted in heavy-ribbed wool with five brown “knobby” leather buttons on a strip down the front of the sweater. The cardigan has raglan sleeves that Malone rolls back at each cuff and two set-in hip pockets with his silver key chain clipped to the welt over his left pocket.
Malone wears a pale blue cotton shirt that resembles the color and fabric of his Chicago police uniform, and indeed it may be the same. If so, it would have shoulder straps (epaulettes) that fasten at the neck in addition to two box-pleated chest pockets, each covered with a mitred-corner flap that closes with a single button.
The shirt has a large semi-spread collar, front placket, and rounded single-button cuffs. As with his pale green R&O Hawick shirt, Connery tends to wear this shirt buttoned up to the neck.
Malone wears taupe woolen flannel trousers with double reverse pleats that are both consistent with the era’s menswear trends and a functional detail that allows a more generous fit for an aging man with an increasing midsection.
Malone maintains his curious practice of wearing both belt and braces as we see the dark leather eyes of his suspenders that connect to buttons along the inside of his trouser waistband when he raises the bottom of his cardigan to tuck his .38 back in. Then again, it may be this cavalier practice of carrying his sidearm like this that necessitates the addition of his belt, likely the same black belt he wears with his everyday corduroy jacket ensemble in Chicago. The belt would keep his trousers more closely pressed to his waist, providing stronger traction for the revolver, while the suspenders would do the yeoman’s work of actually keeping the trousers up.
While his trousers are likely not actual riding breeches, Malone tucks the bottoms into the tops of his combat boots to keep the cuffs from interfering while he’s on horseback, causing the ample-fitting legs to bag out over his ankles like jodphurs or plus fours.
Malone tucks the bottoms of his trousers into his black leather cap-toe combat boots, likely also the same derby-laced boots that he wears with his Chicago outfit.
A man of modest means, Malone wears a plain tweed newsboy cap often associated with the less affluent population of the era. The mixed brown woolen tweed cap has eight panels that connect under a cloth-covered button at the top. It was included in an auction with the rest of his Chicago-worn clothing, where it was listed as an “AKERI Sportsman Extra Quality” snap cap.
Oh, what’s the matter? Can’t you talk with a gun in your mouth?
One of the most memorable character-establishing moments of The Untouchables begins when Jim Malone grows increasingly impatient with mob bookkeeper George’s smug refusal to cooperate. Recalling the dead gangster on the porch that Ness had shotgunned earlier in the day, Malone steps outside and drags the corpse to its feet with its back to the window, giving George and Malone’s fellow interrogators a picture-perfect view of Malone jamming his Smith & Wesson Model 10 revolver into the dead man’s mouth, giving him until the count of three to help them decipher the ledger they captured.
Obviously, dead men don’t talk (or wear plaid) so Malone counts from one to three without getting an answer and—BLAM!—blasts the back of the already dead gangster’s throat into the room, frightening not only the captive George but also the Mounties who assisted with the operation. George is convinced and, despite the newly formed puddle in his pants, is all too eager to cooperate… while the chief Mountie shares his disapproval of Ness’ and Malone’s methods. “Yeah?” Ness counters. “Well, you’re not from Chicago.”
Malone isn’t above going beyond the rules in his quest to carry out justice, but it is unlikely that he would use his service weapon in such a brazen manner. Combined with his unorthodox carry method of tucking it into his trouser waistband sans holster as well as the fact that the Chicago Police Department’s issued sidearm during this era was a Colt Police Positive and not a Smith & Wesson, it can be deduced that this 4″-barreled, blued steel .38 Special—which would have still been designated the Smith & Wesson “Military & Police” revolver—is Malone’s personal sidearm.
Like any Prohibition-era crusader worth his salt, Malone is also a deft artist with a Thompson submachine gun, also nicknamed the “Chicago typewriter” for its prevalence in the gangland violence of Malone’s hometown. Dubbed “the gun that made the twenties roar” by historian William J. Helmer in his book of the same name, the Thompson submachine gun revolutionized firearms in both criminal combat and military warfare over the early half of the 20th century.
Despite its geographical moniker, the “Untouchables”—notably Malone and fellow CPD officer George Stone (Andy Garcia)—use their tommy guns to greatest effect during their mission at the Canadian border.
A prop hard rubber Thompson replica that Sean Connery carried on horseback during these action sequences was auctioned by Profiles in History in July 2005 alongside a Smith & Wesson revolver prop credited as his from the production, though this .357 Magnum revolver’s shorter barrel and shrouded ejector rod make it look like a different model than his .38.
How to Get the Look
Apropos his rugged nature, Chicago beat cop Jim Malone fills his limited wardrobe with durable pieces like his woolen tweed cap, his everyday corduroy jacket, and this unique double-breasted cross between a sports coat and winter outerwear that he layers over a striped scarf and shawl-collar cardigan for an action-packed raid at the Canadian border.
- Brown heavy tweed double-breasted coat with wide notch lapels, padded shoulders, 6×3-button front, flapped bellows hip pockets, single-button slim tab cuffs, single-button half-belted ventless back
- Pale blue cotton shirt with large semi-spread collar, wide front placket, and rounded button cuffs
- Gray heavy ribbed wool knit shawl-collar cardigan with five brown woven leather buttons and two welted hip pockets
- Taupe woolen flannel double reverse-pleated trousers with belt loops and straight/on-seam side pockets
- Dark suspenders
- Black leather belt with steel single-prong buckle
- Black leather derby-laced cap-toe combat boots
- Dark brown tweed newsboy cap
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.
What the hell… you gotta die of something!