Monday, June 13, 2011

Scarlett: Who Mourns Better?

Today's post compares, contrasts, and critiques the Robert Tonner vs. Franklin Mint mourning ensembles. Naturally, I had to post a photo of the actual Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh), shown dancing with Rhett Butler (Clark Gable), wearing the outfit that Tonner patterned theirs after.

This is probably the most realistic portrait doll that Robert Tonner has released of Scarlett. I don't believe the sculpt is different, but a new face paint has worked wonders.

With the hat on, the large curls look very much out of scale and a little unruly. No matter how I tried to move them to even them out and make them look better, they quickly returned to their wild state.

On the positive side for the hat, I love the fact that it snaps under her chin, meaning the bow doesn't have to be tied, undone, and retied. On the negative side, that damn button fastener is so large and silver that it shows up in every photo. Surely a black fastener could have been located. I also doubt that Scarlett's had shimmery gold fabric on the underside of the chin strip. Looks like Tonner was trying to use up the same fabric they used on Mrs. Coulter from their "Golden Compass" line. What the heck...shimmery gold for a Civil War widow?

Without the hat crushing the front curls down, they don't look so bad.

Once again, Tonner uses white thread on a dark garment. This just looks cheap cheap cheap.

The hairstyle in back is pretty cool, and helps make up for the out-of-scale front curls.

In summation, it's a nice doll. However, for a list price of over $200, no jewelry? No mourning brooch? No Paris Hat? And why oh why oh why would they recreate an ensemble already done by the Mint? When Scarlett becomes a widow again after Frank Kennedy is killed, at least the bodice on her mourning dress has an interesting horizontal striped pattern; why not at least do that version for a little excitement? My overall recommendation: get the doll, sell the outfit...and MAYBE keep the hat, since the Franklin Mint didn't do this particular headdress. Also—Tonner's doll comes with black gloves and gold gloves for underneath to avoid staining; I was too lazy to struggle to get both to fit on her hands at the same time.

The Franklin Mint version (shown below) is much better. The fabric actually resembles a period garment; not too shiny...just enough sheen to look correct. I added a headdress created by Alana of Doll Fashions by Alana, since the Franklin Mint's ensemble didn't come with this hat (it did however come with black stud earrings and the beautiful brooch shown here in photos). The buttons do seem a little excessive though!

CAUTION: The Franklin Mint dress DOES NOT fit the Tonner Doll; I couldn't fasten it completely in back, and the seam ripped a bit just in trying to get it over the doll's rump!

The craftsmanship on the Mint's dress is superior to Tonner's; no white thread to be found here! The ensemble also included the famous Paris Hat, which Scarlett playfully wears backwards when flirting with Rhett. The Mint put a rather large tag on the hat though, preventing the owner from putting the hat on both ways.

I still get baffled by Tonner; they continue to release previously done dresses at high prices and then skimp on the details. I can't figure out who would go crazy over this, other than crazy completist collectors like me?

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1 comment:

  1. Franklin Mint's attention to these details: thread and jewelry make you feel you're getting great money's worth on a purchase. I don't know too if the actual dress had that big a ribbon, and the veil needs to be more sheer -- my opinion. But just like you, the collector in me cannot resist. I really do not understand the way these curls have been done. If a prototype were presented to us in a doll meeting (had we worked for Tonner), I bet we would have said: fix it. Strangely some Tonner dolls seem to have the curls in scale which makes me really wonder why they did not even try to fix this one. That braiding in the back is definitely nice. And you're right, the sculpt/face paint does change the way the doll looks. Thanks for sharing this Dave.