Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Franklin Mint Scarlett: Final Farewell Review

When I saw that The Franklin Mint was releasing “Final Farewell,” I was very excited to see how they would interpret the costume Vivien Leigh wore when Clark Gable told her, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!” The Tonner version, called “In The Mist,” used a deep purple velvet and came only as a costume. Tonner publicity photos showed a Scarlett doll (not included) with a hairstyle that is definitely more screen accurate than the Franklin Mint version.

Yesterday, Final Farewell was on my doorstep. Here are my impressions. First, I’ll start with the positives. The, did the Mint hit a home run with their replication of Scarlett’s jewelry!

Even though Franklin Mint consistently does a top-notch job with their jewelry, this one still blew me away, especially when you look at the movie and see that they actually took the time to replicate the actual cameo design worn by Vivien Leigh. The Mint also added pearl stud earrings; a nice touch, but not something actually worn by Scarlett in the movie.

The fit of the dress is wonderful; velvet, due to its heavy nature, can drape awkwardly on a doll. As you can see, the fit and drape of this outfit are just right. I do have a beef about the velvet itself, as it does seem a little too shiny, and not what you would expect a 19th century vixen like Scarlett to be wearing.

This costume is a difficult one to compare with the screen-worn version; very few details show up (even on a blu-ray disc of the movie) as the low lighting and dark color of the dress practically obliterate any highlights. Tonner included stitching on the collar; a nice touch, but I can't verify through the publicity stills or the movie that the film version had this stitching. Yet, the Franklin Mint website clearly states:

Our Scarlett O’Hara™ Final Farewell Vinyl Portrait Doll is handcrafted from luxurious black velvet with trapunto stitched collar, cuffs and shoulder cape. Features a cameo brooch and adjustable bustle.

Stitching can be see on the sleeve detail, but nowhere else. I noticed on some of the boards that people were wondering what an adjustable bustle meant. There is an actual bustle/pad tied around Scarlett's waist, so I guess if you wanted to adjust it, you could. Maybe give her a baby bump in front for fun? Naw...

The hairstyle looks much better than the publicity stills. For the nitpickers, Leigh’s hair is pulled in tighter on the sides as well as at the nape of the neck; the fullness of the doll wig and rolls gets in the way of the collar and keeps it from framing her face as it does in the film. This would definitely be an argument in favor of the Mint to switch to rooted hair instead of the wigs that they continually use.

For the following three photos, I removed the Mint’s collar and replaced it with one made by Alana Bennett. Alana’s collar is more screen accurate in size, and also has the stitching that the Mint left out.

Is she worth the Mint’s asking price? Personally, I wouldn’t pay it. Discounted, yes, she is a nice addition, but other than the cameo, nothing to really write home about. Once again, the Mint’s sculpt is superior in capturing the likeness of Vivien Leigh; once again, the paint job on it is harsh and the color palette of the eyes is garish. I would have to say that my feelings about this one are on the fence.

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  1. You did a very good job with this review. And might I just say, because of your photographs, while I have the Tonner version, I was fortunate to secure this dress -- black is better still for this version.

  2. The purple is pretty, but not accurate. Glad to be an enabler for you! Thanks for all the nice comments!