Sunday, October 30, 2011

More Average Than Bad, The 2011 Almost A Kiss Gone With The Wind Hallmark Ornament Is Still Hit-Or-Miss!

The Good: Good balance, Good detailing, Good sound chip
The Bad: Sound clip is an odd choice for Christmas, Skin detailing, Seems a bit pricey.
The Basics: The Almost A Kiss Gone With The Wind ornament is all right, but looks more animated than most fans are likely to enjoy.

Each year since I started reviewing Hallmark Christmas ornaments, I've made a point out of going over the Gone With The Wind ornament. I started because it seemed like such an esoteric subject for Hallmark ornaments, at least that's what I thought given that my experiences were mostly with Star Trek, Star Wars and Peanuts ornaments. But, I found myself bemused a few years ago by the "Frankly, My Dear" ornament (reviewed here!) and then deeply disappointed with the 2010 Scarlett O’Hara ornament (click here for that review!), so I came very neutral to the 2011 Almost A Kiss ornament. In a rather irksome way, I left the Almost A Kiss ornament feeling neutral as well.

For those unfamiliar with the film, Gone With The Wind (click here for my review!) includes a scene wherein Clark Gable’s character Rhett Butler gives some gifts to Scarlett O’Hara. Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett flirt with one another and Butler argues with O'Hara when she denies her attraction to him.

It is Rhett Butler, embracing Scarlett with the hat box on the floor, open, that is the subject of the Almost A Kiss Hallmark Ornament. To add extra value to this one, Hallmark provided this ornament with a very impressive sound chip.


The Almost A Kiss ornament recreates the moment Rhett Butler presents Scarlett with the ugly green hat. The ornament includes the Rhett, Scarlett and an open hat box all cast in solid plastic. The ornament, released in 2011, is a mixed bag as it has a decent and generally accurate sculpt of the characters, amazing detailing on costumes, but the faces of both characters are lacking in detailing and realistic shading, which makes the characters look a little more like animated versions of themselves as opposed to real live people.

Still, Hallmark clearly made an effort on both Rhett and Scarlett as their costumes and even hair have pretty incredible molding and painted details. Still, Scarlett has no coloring to her lips and Butler’s eyes do not have any of the color or vivacity of Clark Gable’s actual eyes. Moreover, the big bushy mustache on Rhett hides his lips. Measuring three and three-quarters inches tall, two inches wide and two and three-eighths inches deep, the Almost A Kiss ornament is a decent-sized Hallmark ornament. Unfortunately, at the original issue price of $24.95, it is a bit expensive, especially compared to other Gone With The Wind ornaments that featured more of the scenery for the same or less money.

The Almost A Kiss ornament has the two characters looking deeply into one another's eyes and have odd detailing. The faces are recognizably sculpted, but poorly colored. Neither Rhett nor Scarlett looks quite like Clark Gable or Vivian Leigh. They look like caricatures of their characters with minimal facial detailing or coloring. Rhett’s mustache seems a little too pronounced. In contrast, Rhett's bowtie is so incredibly detailed that it has tiny polka dots that are almost invisible, they are so small. That level of authenticity for the detailing is absolutely incredible.

This ornament remains fairly easy to find at Hallmark stores, so there is no reason (yet) to look for it in the secondary market, despite the fact that the scene and sound chip are pretty popular. This ornament features a battery to power the sound effects.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, Almost A Kiss has a sound effect, but no light effect. There is a button, when pressed, activates the sound chip. The sound chip actually contains a single sound clip from Gone With The Wind. The chip has several seconds of actual dialogue from the scene the ornament represents that plays with sufficient volume out the bottom of the ornament. As a result, when one depresses the button, Vivian Leigh as Scarlett asks Rhett Butler why he thinks she wants him to kiss her. The ornament utters the fairly iconic line about Rhett being the only man "over sixteen and under sixty" in the area. There is a bit more to the quote and the sound chip and the dialogue is flirtatious, but not especially romantic or recognizable. It's not so much about the giftgiving, which might tie in to Christmas, but rather about how the two unlikely people are more or less stuck together. Rhett is brusque in his insistence that Scarlett needs to be kissed and frequently.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Almost A Kiss ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate movie nostalgia Christmas Tree, the Almost A Kiss ornament is a somewhat expensive option that looks good beside ornaments from The Wizard Of Oz and prior Gone With The Wind ornaments. The ornament has the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top center of Rhett's head and it is pretty much the only option for the ornament. The Almost A Kiss ornament is surprisingly light and it sways slightly when hung from a hook on the brass loop. In addition to being quite light, the balance for the ornament is wonderful. The hatbox and billowing dress Scarlett is wearing pulls nicely against Rhett, making for a well-balanced ornament.


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition original U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (click here for that review!). Within a few years, virtually every classic film franchise jumped on the bandwagon and began merchandising with Hallmark as well. Classic properties like Barbie, Disney, The Wizard Of Oz and Gone With The Wind have been made into Hallmark Keepsake Christmas ornaments. Almost A Kiss is one of the only Gone With The Wind ornaments on the market and the only one mass produced for the franchise in 2011. Fans of the book and film seem to be neutral to the Almost A Kiss ornament; it is still exceptionally easy to find in the Hallmark stores at this time. Given that only the Limited Edition Gone With The Wind ornaments have appreciated, this mass-produced ornament is not likely to be a great investment piece.


Fans of Gone With The Wind, Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, and Hallmark ornaments are likely to be split on this ornament. The sound clip is interesting, but the sculpt and coloring is not all it ought to be. As such, my recommendation is for fans to wait until the after season and get it on the cheap if one has to have it at all.

For other 2011 Hallmark ornaments reviewed by me, please check out my reviews of:
Star Trek Limited Edition (New York Comic Con Exclusive) U.S.S. Defiant
"Fleeing The Fiendfyre Harry Potter ornament
Green Lantern


For other ornament reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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