Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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The Curtain Dress

Ransom Center costumes are not on permanent exhibition because of the delicate nature of these items.

Vivien Leigh Vivien Leigh

486. INT. DRAWING ROOM - DAY

Scarlett
(she enters to Mammy) Oh, Mammy! Mammy! (she goes to the window and stands looking out)

Mammy
(she goes to her, lays a consoling hand upon her shoulder) You been brave so long, Miss Scarlett. You jes' gotter go on bein' brave. Think 'bout yo' Pa like he useter be.

Scarlett
I can't think about Pa. I can't think about anything but that three hundred dollars! (she moves away from the window and, wretchedly, across the room.)

Mammy
(mumbling) Ain's no good thinkin' 'bout dat, Miss Scarlett. Ain' nobody got dat much money

Scarlett (to herself)
Three hundred dollars ... three hundred dollars ...

Mammy
Nobody but Yankees and Scalawags got dat much money now.

Scarlett stops still in her tracks. She frowns. Then, low, but quite matter-of-fact:

Scarlett
Rhett.

Mammy
Who dat? A Yankee?

Scarlett
(frightened by her own idea) Be quiet.

Scarlett goes to the mirror, stares at herself. She runs her hands over her thin figure, pinches her cheeks.

Scarlett
I'm so thin and so pale, Mammy. And I haven't got any clothes!

Suddenly she straightens up as she catches a glimpse of the green portieres hanging at the windows. She swings around abruptly and with sudden brisk decision, walks to them.

Scarlett
(fingering the material and looking up) Scoot up to the attic and get Ma's old box of dress patterns, Mammy.

Vivien Leigh and Hattie McDaniel

Mammy
Whut you up ter wid Miss Ellen's po'teers?

Scarlett
You're going to make me a new dress.

Mammy
Not outta Miss Ellen's po'teers! Not while Ah got bref in mah body!

Scarlett
(still staring at the portieres) Great balls of fire! They're my portieres now!

(she jerks down the portieres, pole and all; drapes the material over her shoulder; turns back to Mammy)

I'm going to Atlanta for that three hundred dollars, and I've got to go looking like a queen.


The Curtain Dress, symbol of Scarlett's will to survive, was worn in three scenes: the jail scene in which Scarlett asks Rhett for financial assistance, the scene in which Scarlett walks through the Atlanta streets with Mammy, and the scene in which Scarlett meets Frank Kennedy.

Costume design by Walter Plunkett

The color of the dress presented Plunkett with several problems. It had to suit the color of Vivien Leigh's eyes and it had to conform to Technicolor specifications. Furthermore, it had to look as if it were made from the draperies at Tara. So the dress was aged as if the sun had faded the material.

Also known as the Drapery Dress and the Portieres Dress, the dress has a moss green velvet overskirt that parts in the front to reveal a chartreuse velvet underskirt. It has fitted sleeves with a semi-cape on the left shoulder and a drapery cord belt.

The replica of the green curtain dress worn by Scarlett O'Hara was made of 16 yards of Italian cotton velveteen. The silk tassels and cording were reproduced by Scalamandre of New York. The dress took over 200 hours to complete, from April 22 to July 8, 1986. The original is also housed at the Ransom Center.

Replication Project Director: Sister Mary Elizabeth Joyce, Incarnate Word College, San Antonio, Texas

Designers: Carrie Harrell and Jan Hevenor



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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.