Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Tonner: Melanie from Gone With The Wind

Tonner has the license for Gone With The Wind dolls for some time now. They released the first pictures this summer, to much dismay from collectors. That was due to the fact that the Scarlett O'Hara sculpt did not meet expectations. After all, it had to confront the successful and much applauded Franklin Mint doll, which looks particularly like Vivien Leigh, the actress that immortalized the heroine.

It was easier with Melanie Hamilton, which is the first doll to be released from the series. They did not secure the rights to portray Olivia De Havilland (the dolls are to be tied-in with the film), so they had free reign for the sculpt. The result: a very good and unusual doll face, realistic looking and very convincing as Melanie.

Her face is nicely sculpted, with a kind and thoughtful expression (thankfully not that pity-me look the actress had in the film at many times). The only drawback here is the make up: her red lipstick and blush as well as the eye shadow are too accented for the era and the character the doll portrays.

Her hairdo is a lovely knot at the back of the head, with a center part and hair gathered at the sides and pulled under the knot. It fits perfectly with the film's style and the character. Her hair color is a lovely shade of brown, not dark but not light either. She has a hat on that looks like a cross between a hat and a snood. It does not look much like the snood the actress was wearing in the film - first the doll's hat:

And this is a scene from the film with it:

The costume is the one Mellie is wearing at Scarlett's wedding: light blue silk, with applied diamond motifs on the skirt, a big v-neckline with a bow and a lace trim, short puffed sleeves with lace trim. The dress is fully lined in white. It closes with snaps at the back, which is not very appropriate for the style of dress and the era, but makes things easier for some people. It is a faithful reproduction of the film costume and looks very impressive-the volume the skirt has is huge:

And this is a photo from the film:

Here is a close up of the diamond motif:

The skirt of course has to have the proper support. I was wondering what Tonner would put under the skirt, as Franklin Mint's crinolines did not get anything more than a tulle skirt (and out of scale fabric too) with a wire near the hem, which is notorious for it's lack of cooperation. Here, Tonner pulls out all the stops: we get 2 (actually 2 and a half) skirts under the dress. And of course pantalets and stockings for underwear as was proper at the time (unfortunately no corset with this outfit under the bodice, although it looks like it can have one and still button up without problem). Here are the pantalets and stockings:

Over the pantalets is a nice underskirt with wire hoops sewn in - three of them. It is made of cotton. The bottom wire hoop did seem to have a mind of its own and turned up a bit.

Over the hoop skirt is another under skirt made of satin and tulle (hence the 2 and a half layers: one is the hoop skirt, one and a half is the satin and tulle one). The satin is trimmed with lace at the hem and the tulle is in ruffled tiers sewn over the satin. It looks great and adds to the look of the undergarments, not to mention the volume of the skirt:

Here is the lace trim detail:

The whole system works very well under the dress and it gives its skirt a huge volume, looking very faithful to the era. The accessories are fantastic too - the shoes are to die for:

She has a lovely point d'esprit lace shawl - here is a detail:

And of course she has short white gloves like a proper lady at that time would.

The worst thing is the stand: the doll comes with the infamous circular wire stand that has all of the Tonner collectors in fits. In this case it is more inappropriate as it cannot hold the doll in its place for too long due to volume and weight, plus it makes the skirt seem a bit puffed near the waist. I cannot understand how Tonner could make such a blunder and not have the newer saddle stand included with this doll. Here is a back view of the doll:

She comes in a huge green box with gold letters on it. The box is not very sturdy, probably because of weight issues, but it holds well. The doll is very good in general, and if some details were taken care of, she would be excellent. Of course, the stand makes the whole experience of having her too painful (mine has fallen countless times already and now stands on Shinyuu Mina's new saddle stand.

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