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  • Madge Bellamy as Lorna Donne wearing a dress decorated with dark ribbons in the 1922 film "Lorna Doone."
    • Associated First National Pictures

    Lorna Doone

    1922

    Costume seen on Madge Bellamy as Lorna Doone

  • Madge Bellamy as Madeline Short Parker wearing a dress decorated with dark ribbons in the 1932 film "White Zombie."
    • United Artists

    White Zombie

    1932

    Costume seen on Madge Bellamy as Madeline Short Parker

Additional Images

About the Costume

With the advent of moving pictures came the need for an entire industry of people to help fulfill the demand for new films – lighting, set design, and costume designers. The book Hollywood and History: Costume Design in Film by Edward Maeder has some interesting information about the first ever costume dramas, where some costumes originated, and how the first costume houses for movies came into existence. He writes:

The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance (1916), both directed by D.W. Griffith are among the first films that specifically used costumes to create the illusion of an earlier time. Prior to these films, suggesting period dress was not considered. Actors frequently wore clothing from their personal wardrobes regardless of its accuracy for the period or their characters…Costumes played an important part in these pictures, but they were still primarily the responsibility of the director and actors. It was not until the 1920s, with the formation of large studios in Hollywood, that costume design became a specialized task. Studios began to maintain large costume departments with skilled staff that worked exclusively on costume pictures.

This dress is not only one of the earliest documented reuses of film costumes, but it also originated in the silent era. It was worn both times by the actress Madge Bellamy, first in the 1922 silent production of Lorna Doone, where she played the title character. Ten years later, in 1932, she wore it in the film White Zombie (considered the first full-length zombie film) as the character Madeline Short Parker.

Have you seen any silent films? Let us know which one was your favorite.

 

About the Costume

Have you seen this gown somewhere else? Do you need to be given credit for this sighting? Do you have corrections, additions or changes you would like to make?

Have you ever watched a film and noticed a character walk by in a gown that you just know you’ve seen before? Recycled Movie Costumes is dedicated to documenting the life of a costume through its various appearances on film and television.

Additional Images

About the Costume

With the advent of moving pictures came the need for an entire industry of people to help fulfill the demand for new films – lighting, set design, and costume designers. The book Hollywood and History: Costume Design in Film by Edward Maeder has some interesting information about the first ever costume dramas, where some costumes originated, and how the first costume houses for movies came into existence. He writes:

The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance (1916), both directed by D.W. Griffith are among the first films that specifically used costumes to create the illusion of an earlier time. Prior to these films, suggesting period dress was not considered. Actors frequently wore clothing from their personal wardrobes regardless of its accuracy for the period or their characters…Costumes played an important part in these pictures, but they were still primarily the responsibility of the director and actors. It was not until the 1920s, with the formation of large studios in Hollywood, that costume design became a specialized task. Studios began to maintain large costume departments with skilled staff that worked exclusively on costume pictures.

This dress is not only one of the earliest documented reuses of film costumes, but it also originated in the silent era. It was worn both times by the actress Madge Bellamy, first in the 1922 silent production of Lorna Doone, where she played the title character. Ten years later, in 1932, she wore it in the film White Zombie (considered the first full-length zombie film) as the character Madeline Short Parker.

Have you seen any silent films? Let us know which one was your favorite.

 

With the advent of moving pictures came the need for an entire industry of people to help fulfill the demand for new films – lighting, set design, and costume designers. The book Hollywood and History: Costume Design in Film by Edward Maeder has some interesting information about the first ever costume dramas, where some costumes originated, and how the first costume houses for movies came into existence. He writes:

The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance (1916), both directed by D.W. Griffith are among the first films that specifically used costumes to create the illusion of an earlier time. Prior to these films, suggesting period dress was not considered. Actors frequently wore clothing from their personal wardrobes regardless of its accuracy for the period or their characters…Costumes played an important part in these pictures, but they were still primarily the responsibility of the director and actors. It was not until the 1920s, with the formation of large studios in Hollywood, that costume design became a specialized task. Studios began to maintain large costume departments with skilled staff that worked exclusively on costume pictures.

This dress is not only one of the earliest documented reuses of film costumes, but it also originated in the silent era. It was worn both times by the actress Madge Bellamy, first in the 1922 silent production of Lorna Doone, where she played the title character. Ten years later, in 1932, she wore it in the film White Zombie (considered the first full-length zombie film) as the character Madeline Short Parker.

Have you seen any silent films? Let us know which one was your favorite.

 

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Credits

Sighting Credit:
Photos provided by:
Costume Designer:
  • Milton Menasco

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