Friday, November 30, 2012


This beautiful Green wool period gown was worn by Ann Rutherford in what is possibly the most loved adaption of “Pride and Prejudice” and made at MGM in 1940.

Ann Rutherford played "Lydia Bennet" in the film.

The costume is designed in a green wool crepe period style with velvet leaf decorations. The costume was designed by famed MGM designer Adrian. Adrian was responsible for costuming many great stars as part of his career at MGM including Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer and Judy Garland. He is best remembered for his costume designs in “The Wizard of Oz” (1939) as well as many other Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer films of the 1930s and 1940s. My personal favourite is the gowns he designed for “The Women” also in 1939. He designed costumes for over 250 films.

Ann Rutherford as "Lydia Bennet" wears the costume when she arrives home a married woman. The costume carries a handwritten label "7498" and stamped MGM.  The skirt has handwritten label "Ann Rutherford 7498."  The costume is accentuated by a large velvet collar and lace.

Here is a detailed photo of the velvet leaf design.

This version of the film was very well received by the public and has remained as a much loved adaption of this popular novel and largely due to the two leads, Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier.

Here is the original trailer to the film:

Greer Garson as Elizabeth has been referred to as literally stepping right out of the book and that she was made to play the role.

I recently found that the hat, which accompanies this gown, still exists and is housed in the FIDM Museum and Gallery permanent collection in Los Angeles. You can see the same design velvetleaf used by Adrian to accentuate the hat. Good to know that the hat still exists.

Photo copyright FIDM Museum Library Inc.

Ann Rutherford was a much loved MGM star who is best remembered for playing Polly Benedict during the 1930s and 1940s in the Andy Hardy series. She was also Scarlett O'Hara's sister in “Gone With the Wind”(1939).

The gown was popular and striking enough as well to be used in a paper doll book on film costume.

Rutherford passed away only recently on June 11, 2012.

Friday, November 23, 2012


Here is a period dress worn by much loved character actor Dame May Whitty  as she portrayed "Miss Thwaites" in the film Gaslight. (MGM, 1944)

This is a three-piece brown wool crepe period dress and jacket with black embroidery and beading finished with pompom fringe.  The costume has a typed label "1311-7178 D M Witty".  Irene designed the costumes for the film. Dame May Whitty as “Miss Thwaites” wears the costume in two scenes when she attempts to visit Ingrid Bergman with little luck.

Gaslight is a 1944 mystery-thriller adapted from a play. It was actually the second version to be filmed with the first being released in the United Kingdom four years before.

The following photos show better detail of the design to the lapel and jacket.

The design to the neckline is just beautiful as you can.  MGM paid great attention to detail and costumes is where they excelled when it came to detail.

This is a photo of the rear of the gown.

The 1944 version where this costume comes was made at MGM, directed by George Cukor and starred Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotten, and 18-year-old Angela Lansbury in her screen debut.

Dame May Whitty who also starred in the film was born in Liverpool, England and started theatre at a young age. It was not until 1935, at the age of seventy an following the success she had on stage in “Night Must Fall” that she took part in the film version in 1937 and received an Oscar nomination.  It was from here that she started a new career playing the “old lady” characters on the screen.

Some of these included “The Thirteenth Chair” (1937), “The Lady Vanishes”(1938), and “Mrs Miniver” (1942).

This is the original trailer for the film:

A wonderful period costume from an MGM film classic.

I recently found out (and a big thank you to James for finding it) that the costume was used again some years later by character actress Florence Auer in the 1949 MGM film "That Forsyte Woman" where she played Ann Forsyte Heyman. It actually gets more screen time in this film than it did in 'Gaslight". I believe that the costume appears in another film as well around that time. It is amazing to see how many times that costumes were reused! Here is are two pictures of Ms Auer in costume.

Thanks again James for your sharp eye in finding it for me!!