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Gone With the Wind Technicolor Screentest
Costume seen on Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara
Gone With the Wind
Costume seen on an extra at a ball
Can't Help Singing
Costume seen on an extra

Full shot in of the gown in a black and white screen test for Gone With the Wind

This green gown, often called the "Green Library Gown" or the "Screentest Gown." was used for the Bazaar Scene in Gone With the Wind. It was rented from the Western Costume Company (see Selznick memo's below). However, the gown was first used before any real filming for the scene began. Vivien Leigh, when doing screentests and a technicolor screentest in December of 1938 would wear this gown before it was publicly announced that she had the role of Scarlett O'Hara and her final wardrobe was eventually designed by Walter Plunkett.

We can learn a good deal about the production and the costumes from Gone With the Wind from the many memos written by David O'Selznick before and during the film's production. The following segment, taken from a memo from Selznick to R.A. Klune on 2/3/39 is interesting, because it discusses the costumes from the bazaar scene, and also mentions how he wished they could have recycled costumes from other productions that had been worn by stars such as Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford!

I was very disappointed by the costumes in the bazaar sequence during the dance. Much of the loveliness that this sequence could have had has been lost throughthe very ordinary costumes worn by the dancers. I am aware that we do not want to spend money building costumes for extras, but I think that we might have done much better if we had used a little more effort to get costumes worn by stars in other pictures, notably at M.G.M. Certainly costumes worn by Miss Shearer and Miss Rainer and Miss Crawford and all the other woman stars in various costume pictures could have given us a much more beautiful effect in this scene that the cheap looking extra costumes that we have utilized....

The response from Klune to Selznick came on 2/6/39, and is interesting because it mentions where the costumes were obtained, and the process taken in having them made.
Your memorandum concerning costumes in the Bazaar Sequence brings up a number of important points that should be given consideration immediately, the principal one concerning authenticity, and another,to what extent Mr. Cukor's approvals may be considered final by Mr.Lambert and Mr. Plunkett. 105 of the dresses on women in the Bazaar were manufactured by Western Costume Company from scratch in accordance with sketches and specifications as to color and material as submitted by us. Samples of the dresses were in each case shown to Mr. Cukor for his approval. In all cases Miss Myrick felt that we were dressing the women much too nicely for Atlanta of that day. However, both Lambert and Plunkett went very much further that she said was permissible in attempting to make the gowns lovely. It would have been just as easy and not much more expensive to have gone to more picturesque dresses because of having completely manufactured so large a number. While on a production rental basis we are paying much less, some of the manufactured dresses have cost as much as $75.00 to make. It seems a shame now that they are not what you wanted. Lambert and Plunkett both took your instructions literally when you suggested that they accept Mr. Cukor's approval on the wardrobe for bits and extras, and of course feel very badly now that they have missed giving you what you wanted in the sequence...
The gown is used again in another film called Can't Help Singing, interestingly enough with costumes by Plunkett, though this gown in particular was almost certainly rented from The Western Costume Company.


Costume Credit
Katie S.
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