Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Scarlett O' Hara Doll War: Franklin Mint vs. Tonner

One doll seems to rise above the Scarlett O' Hara doll wars. Limited Edition: 1 Worldwide! 
The amazing Vivien Leigh repainted doll by Noel Cruz (

Tonner doll's "Kissing Ashley Goodbye" outfit only showed the wrong cameo. Doll was not also available separately with the hairstyle shown in the publicity shots

Franklin Mint's "Christmas with Ashley" dressed doll came with a sash, the correct hairstyle, cameo with gold fringes, and a jewelry piece at the back of the head. Hairstyle is film- accurate. Neatly done and very polished. 


The publicity shots of Tonner's Mrs. Kennedy Mill dress seemed to show an overlay of two skirts, but the actual dress showed one sewn continuously on another!
Buyers felt cheated. The hairstyle didn't show accuracy and actual dolls released showed a lack of balance on the hair braiding. Despite this, the doll seemed to capture the interest of buyers on ts initial release. ( 

Franklin Mint's version of the Mill Dress this time in Peach with fringes more faithful to the film dress. Hairstyle seems to be also accurate from its initial publicity shots. 

As I write this, I am confused. Out there in doll-land, two of the most popular doll manufacturers seem to be at battle as to who produces the better Scarlett O' Hara. 

My opinion is this: The history of adulation for Scarlett reached its apex with one of the most accurate and comprehensive collection depicting the character. Franklin Mint's vinyl version of Scarlett boasts of a likeness that is doll-like and yet unmistakably of  Vivien Leigh's. Franklin Mint has an "almost complete" ensemble of dresses found from the film. Some have become hard-to-find (FM's Bridal vinyl Scarlett, and the Battlefield Scarlett are nowhere in ebay).

Yet, at around 2008, the Tonner doll company released its own version of Scarlett. This time its slant: the lost costumes never used in the film GWTW. However in its GWTW line, only 2 releases (Trip to Saratoga in 2008 and Travelling to Savannah with Mother in 2009) fall under this category. The rest are film outfits same as the ones released by Franklin Mint. 

In 2009 Tonner released the continuation of this series with a new lost costume. And once again, similar GWTW clothing released by Franklin Mint. 

Buyers can be confused which ones to buy. Buyers can be frustrated after buying one from Tonner, here comes another version from Franklin Mint. 

If Tonner leads in articulation, Franklin Mint seems to still have the lead in likeness, in hairstyle and accuracy of the outfit. Prices differ too. Tonner pricing reaches a $200 plus mark with a Limited Edition claims that can make a collector break her piggy bank to grab one of its new dolls. Yet when it comes to hairstyles Tonner suffers with what seems to be inaccurate. And Franklin Mint now has embarked on hairstyling for its GWTW dolls. 

Take a look at production photos and you'll see the difference between the dolls from these companies. 

Personally, while I am inclined to get a Scarlett from Franklin Mint, my biggest hesitation comes from its lack of articulation. Then what? She stands and that's it? With Tonner the hesitation comes from the lack of likeness and the wrong hairstyles which has to be redone again -- and if one is not brave enough, one may end up with a mess. Franklin Mint's lack of advertising, promotion has seemed to catch the GWTW doll collector with surprise releases ergo, unplanned purchases that can be hard on the pocket these days. But still its doll's price is reasonable for the quality that one can get -- the likeness, the accuracy of clothing -- its biggest minus: articulation. 

Which one is better? Which shows more likeness? Which pricing is more favorable? And if I were a GWTW fanatic, how do I wisely invest my hard-earned dollar (or Peso in my case which is 48 to 1 dollar)?  

What do I think? I think each doll be it from Franklin Mint or Tonner holds a special charm for the collector. There are non-negotiables: likeness, articulation, dress detail, beauty, price. But more often a charmed doll collector loses reason and soon finds herself pressing that "add to cart" or "purchase" button; and find the seeds of guilt growing in us. This is why I think doll manufacturers out there should think twice, thrice about the propositions they give us consumers. The war doesn't happen between manufacturers, it happens inside the doll collector. 
Meantime one, new  Scarlett O' Hara seems to have silently entered the picture and captured the enchantment and adulation of the public : GWTW doll collector or not. Limited Edition to 1 worldwide, this doll is not Scarlett at all but Vivien Leigh, from the amazing, unbelievable, heavenly  talent of Noel Cruz. A repaint of Tonner's Scarlett O' Hara. See more of this one-of-a-kind, amazing creation and more  at 



  1. I agree with you too. Franklin Mint's Scarlett looks so much more like Vivien Leigh (one of my personal favorite actresses of all time); yet Tonner's Scarlett is fully articulate.

    I love all your Scarlett portraits on, they are really beautiful! :)

  2. Thank you Daphne. I have to say, a lot of dollduel photos are amazing!! But thank you and I'm glad you like the photos. The sculpt of Vivien is interpreted differently by Tonner. If they had a good paint artist similar to FM perhaps it would help and somehow give justice to the sculpting talent of Mr. Tonner.

    Thanks for passing by Dimples!