Knowing what we know now, with Vivien Leigh's portrayal firmly established in our minds, it's rather entertaining to view how other actresses took on Scarlett O'Hara in their screen tests for Gone With the Wind (1939). Leigh, of course, beat out a legion of actresses who—Paulette Goddard excepted—barely came close to the bulls-eye. With that in mind, here are a handful of screen tests sure to elicit one of three responses: "No wonder they got the role," "Too bad they didn't get the role" and "Thank heaven they didn't get the role!"
Edith Head takes us through preperations for Roman Holiday (1953), including Audrey Hepburn's personality and wardrobe tests.
Marlon Brando's 1947 audition for Warner Bros. has him using a partially completed script for Rebel Without a Cause. Brando was not auditioning specifically for the movie, nor did the film, eventually completed in 1955, use any of the scripts written in the 1940s.
Ann-Margret's exquisite rendition of "It Might As Well Be Spring" serves as her first screen test for the remake of State Fair (1962). She landed the movie, but not the role of Margy Frake (who sings the song), which went to Pamela Tiffin. Ann-Margret instead played the more vivacious role of Emily Porter.
Sandy Dennis gave a remarkable screen test in the role of Honey opposite Roddy McDowell's Nick for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966). She would go on the win the Oscar for her performance.
James Dean and Paul Newman team up for a personality test for East of Eden (1954)
Sharon Tate acquits herself well in this test for Valley of the Dolls (1967) with Tony Scotti.
Among the young actresses auditioning for the role of Liesl in The Sound of Music (1965) were, according to imdb.com, Liza Minnelli, Patty Duke, Kim Darby, Lesley Ann Warren and Sharon Tate. Here is Mia Farrow’s take on the role.
Marilyn Monroe plays a gangster’s girlfriend in a 1950 screen test for Cold Shoulder, a film that was never made.
Dustin Hoffman's screen and costume test for Tootsie (1982) reveal an early incarnation of the Dorothy Michaels character.
Joan Bennett, Melvyn Douglas, Lana Turner and others try, with varying degrees of success, to embody Margaret Mitchell's characters.