Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Costume design by Walter Plunkett
costume design by Walter Plunkett

Costume design by Walter Plunkett
Original costume design by Walter Plunkett

Vivien Leigh
Vivien Leigh between takes

The Porch Scene

Vivien Leigh with Fred Crane and George Reeves

The opening scene of "Gone With The Wind," in which the Tarleton Twins are talking to Scarlett about the war, was one of the most troubled scenes of the film. It was shot a total of five times. The first time was on Thursday, January 26, 1939. Selznick was not satisfied with this take because the Twins's hair, dyed red for the film, appeared "too orange" in Technicolor. The scene was shot again on Monday, January 30, but was not used because of the lighting. When George Cukor left the production Victor Fleming took over and his first scene, shot on Wednesday, March 1, was the porch scene. As in the two Cukor versions, Scarlett wore the green sprigged muslin "barbeque" dress that she later wears to Twelve Oaks. Selznick was not happy with the Twins' performances so the take was not used. Fleming shot the scene again on Monday, June 26 with Leigh wearing the white prayer dress. Selznick felt the "barbeque" dress was being used in too much of the film and wanted more variety. This take was not used because Vivien Leigh looked "exhausted." She took a vacation before returning to shoot the scene a final time on Thursday, October 12, 1939. It was the last scene shot with Vivien Leigh and is the version that appears in the final film.



On the set of Gone With The Wind
Leigh talks with technical advisor Susan Myrick. Leigh's double waits in back.
Vivien Leigh
Vivien Leigh wearing the white prayer dress


Mr. George Cukor

1/30/39

Since it is my strong feeling at the moment that we will be forced to drop the
twin scene, for length if for no other reason, and since further it is my feeling
that even if we should eventually decide to keep it, we will re-take the one shot
that we had with Miss Leigh, I feel that we should plan on using the white dress
in the opening scene - which means that she should wear this dress in the scene
with Gerald.

Plunkett feels very strongly that this would be the best plan.

If you have any different feelings, please call me.

dos

dos*f


Vivien Leigh with Fred Crane and George Reeves

Scarlett and the Tarleton Twins in the opening scene as it would appear in the film.
Notice the camera dolly tracks on the ground and the light and microphone to the right.


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Exhibit design by Steve L. Wilson

Learn how you can save the Green Curtain Dress and other costumes from Gone With The Wind.