Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Costume design by Walter Plunkett
Original costume design by Walter Plunkett
Rhett Butler

Clark Gable

Clark Gable had not wanted to play the role of Rhett. He was afraid he could not live up to the Rhett that thousands of readers of the book had imagined. He was also dubious about being in a costume epic. His last costume picture, "Parnell" had been a flop. But Gable was Hollywood's biggest star, and in the end, no one else could have played the part.

Selznick had paid dearly to get Gable for the film and went to great lengths to make sure that nothing would detract from his performance.

Mr. Klune - Mr. Lambert



I made it a point to go to the bottom of the terrible mess we have made
of Gable's clothes and was surprised to find that the reason why Gable
looks so much worse in the clothes he has had so far in the picture than
in all the pictures he has made (including such costume pictures as "PARNELL")
is that Gable was told when he first came here that he could have any tailor
he wanted except Schmidt. Since Schmidt has been Gable's tailor all through
his career, from the time he started as an obscure actor to the time he became
the biggest star in the world, this was an insane order to begin with. And
it had the further effect of making Gable take a what-the-hell attitude and
not bother with his own clothes, whereas normally he takes complete charge
of his own clothes, has sketches made, works on them, etc.

I would like to know why, in the first place, the one tailor that should
have outfitted Gable was ruled out. As for the future, and in the hope
that we will do a decent job with him and not have a reputation of what
we have had in the past, I am in hopes that you will sit down with Gable,
determine exactly how he has worked in the past, and make sure this is
the way he works in the future on this clothes.

The clothes that I have been complaining about in the past are master-
pieces of tailoring compared to the horrible outfits that I saw tried on
him Saturday. A more ill-fitting and unbecoming group of suits I have
never seen on a laboring man, much less on a star. I don't think Oviatt's
should be paid for these clothes, and I should like to be kept informed as
to whether or not they are being paid. Most certainly the clothes shouldn't
be used. Since we are going to be hopping in and out of continuity every day from
now on, it is obviously vitally important that all of Gable's costumes for
the rest of the picture be made up at once. An outline can be secured from
Miss Keon as to the exact continuity of the entire picture with only one
or two minor exceptions. This should be so organized that, if possible, I
see all the sketches for Gable's clothes for the rest of the picture at
one time -- but not until and unless Gable has personally approved them all.



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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.