Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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A Tonic to the Imagination: Costume Designs for Stage and Screen by B. J. Simmons & Co., 1889-1959
Home Costume Designs Introduction Index of Designers
Cinema
While Simmons was known primarily as a costumer of "live" productions, the company costumed over 100 British films ranging from Kind Hearts and Coronets to I, Claudius. Many of the major motion picture studios had their own costume departments, but J. Arthur Rank and London Film Productions contracted with Simmons to make most of their costumes in the 1940s. Simmons also did a great deal of work for small independent films, and films with small casts. Simmons was perhaps unique among film costumiers for having often dressed the original stage version of a play which then took on a second life as a film.

Aunt Sally

Directed by Tim Whelan for Gainsborough Pictures /
Gaumont British Picture Corporation Ltd., 1933
Costumes designed by Gordon Conway

Costume design for Aunt Sally

Beau Brummel

Directed by Curtis Bernhardt for MGM, 1954
Costumes designed by Elizabeth Haffenden

Photoreproduction of costume design for Beau Brummel

Ben-Hur

Directed by William Wyler for MGM, 1959
Costumes designed by Elizabeth Haffenden

Photoreproduction of costume design for Ben-Hur Photoreproduction of costume design for Ben-Hur Detail of costume design for Judah Ben-Hur's robe in Ben-Hu Detail of costume design for Esther's robe in Ben-Hur

The Constant Nymph

Directed by Basil Dean for Gaumont British Picture Corporation, 1933
Costumes designed by Gordon Conway

Costume design for The Constant Nymph

Henry V

Directed by Laurence Olivier for Two Cities Films, 1944
Costumes designed by Roger Furse

Costume design for tabbard in Henry V Costume design for tabbard in Henry V

I, Claudius

Directed by Denis Kavanagh and Josef Von Sternberg
for London Film Productions, 1937 (not completed)
Costumes designed by John Armstrong

Costume design for I, Claudius Pattern for Claudius' costume in I, Claudius Costume design for I, Claudius Costume design for I, Claudius

The Scarlet Pimpernel

Directed by Harold Young for London Film Productions, 1934
Costumes designed by John Armstrong and Oliver Messel

Costume design for The Scarlet Pimpernel