Eva Lovelace, would-be actress trying to crash the New York stage, is a wildly optimistic chatterbox full of theatrical mannerisms. Her looks, more than her talent, attract the interest of a paternal actor, a philandering producer, and an earnest playwright. Is she destined for stardom or the "casting couch"? Will she fade after the brief blooming of a "morning glory"?Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The four portraits that Eva sees in the theatre are of Maude Adams, Ethel Barrymore, Sarah Bernhardt and John Drew. Bernhardt is well-known in her own right even now. The portrait of John Drew is likely to be of John Drew Jr. (1853-1927) rather than John Drew Sr. (1827-1862) (an American actor of the early 1800s). John Drew Jr. was a renowned American actor of the late 1800s, the leading matinée idol of his time. Maude Adams (1872-1953) was one of the most popular American actresses of the 1890s and early 1900s, achieving great fame in J.M. Barrie's plays. Drew Jr. and Adams worked together for five years from 1892, achieving great success and making Adams a star. Ethel Barrymore (1879-1959), with brothers Lionel Barrymore and John Barrymore, was one of the Barrymore siblings who achieved greatness on the American stage and in films. The Barrymore siblings were the niece and nephews of John Drew Jr. See more »
Mic shadow on wall as Sheridan drags Eva out of dressing room after star quits play on opening night. See more »
[on the telephone with an inquiring person as Eva Lovelace walks past the ticket window on her way upstairs to an acting agency]
There's nothin' in front of the 14th row, madame.
[to others in an upstairs hallway as Eva and Robert Harley Hedges exit the elevator]
[Eva and Robert enter Lewis Easton Productions' acting agency]
Oh hello Robert, how are you?
Robert Harley Hedges:
A tough season isn't it?
Robert Harley Hedges:
Pretty tough, yes. But I'm afraid nowadays they're all tough seasons.
Yes, I guess you're ...
[...] See more »
MORNING GLORY (RKO Radio, 1933), directed by Lowell Sherman, stars Katharine Hepburn in her third feature film and one she was born to play. The story involves Eva Lovelace (Hepburn), an aspiring actress from Vermont who comes to New York City in hope to get an acting job in the theater. While at an employment office, she comes across a veteran actor (C. Aubrey Smith), a theatrical manager (Adolphe Menjou), and a young playwright (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) who, at first, thinks she's "daffy." Eventually, the leading lady (Mary Duncan) of the upcoming play walks out on opening night because the producer refuses to meet her salary demands. Then Eva, the understudy, is given her big opportunity to take her place. After her stage performance (which is not presented on screen), Eva steals the show and becomes an overnight success. Now in love with the playwright (Fairbanks), Eva comes to realize then and there that a career and a relationship cannot mix, which places her in a dilemma.
While Hepburn won her first Academy Award for her performance here, I personally feel her role as Jo March in LITTLE WOMEN (RKO, 1933) was far better suited for her and should have gotten the award for that one instead. And like the character of Eva Lovelace, no one can be Jo March but Kate Hepburn. The story elements to MORNING GLORY does echo Kate's early stage origins. In spite of some scenes where she, at times, overacts, this is HER movie from start to finish. In a TV documentary on Kate's movie career, it was said that Constance Bennett was scheduled star as Eva Lovelace, but when Kate read the script, she saw herself as that character and got to play her instead. Kate is, however, convincing when she changes from naive youth to a mature woman. The movie includes some very witty dialog to help the story along. Great bit: The exchange between Mary Duncan and Geneva Mitchell outside Menjou's office, "You've gained."/ Response: "I'll soon be your size, my dear!" Another memorable scene is Kate's reenacting the "Romeo and Juliet" balcony scene at a dinner party. Kate and Adolphe Menjou later appeared in STAGE DOOR (RKO, 1937) with Ginger Rogers, which improved over MORNING GLORY. Both have the elements of looking like a filmed stage play, but the 1937 production presented more characters and a plot that moved at a faster pace.
MORNING GLORY, which was distributed on video cassette in the 1980s, first by Nostalgia Merchant and later through RKO Radio Home Video, played regularly on the American Movie Classics cable channel prior to 2000. MORNING GLORY was remade in 1958 as STAGE STRUCK with Susan Strasberg and Henry Fonda, but while both versions can be seen from time to time on Turner Classic Movies, it appears that MORNING GLORY happens to be the better known of the two. (**1/2)
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