Gone With the Wind’s 75th Anniversary: The Paris Hat Sequence

gone_trivia2On February 6, 1939, George Cukor directed Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable in the “Paris Hat” sequence. This scene mirrored the novel’s action with:

  • Scarlett proposing to cover the hat with crepe and dyeing the feather black so she can wear the bonnet while in mourning
  • Rhett taking the bonnet back and threatening to give it to someone else
  • Scarlett promising not to alter the hat and allowing Rhett to kiss her on the cheek.

For this scene’s costuming, Gable wore a cravat and the bonnet was bedecked with veiling. For hairstyling, Leigh’s locks were swept to the sides, leaving her forehead bare.

Don’t remember this scene portrayed that way in the film? You’re right!

By the time Victor Fleming took over directorial reins and reshot the sequence, the script had been changed. In Fleming’s version of the “Paris Hat” sequence:

  • Scarlett puts the bonnet on backwards to tease Rhett
  • Rhett repositions the hat on her head
  • Scarlett becomes annoyed after Rhett refuses to kiss her

Costuming and hairstyling were also changed. Gable’s cravat was replaced with a bow tie. The bonnet’s veiling was removed. Leigh’s hairdo included bangs.

All of the footage Cukor shot for this scene was discarded. Inexplicably, stills from Cukor’s version were circulated for promotional purposes for years. Macmillan even used a Cukor “Paris Hat” sequence still on the cover of the novel’s motion picture edition.

Hats off to the 75th anniversary of the filming of the original “Paris Hat” sequence!

Blog Bio: Pauline Bartel is the author of The Complete GONE WITH THE WIND Trivia Book and an expert on the film and its history. Visit the website (www.paulinebartel.com/resources/books/books-available) for further information.

 

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