Morning Glory (1933)

RKO

Zoe Akins’ unproduced play, Morning Glory, became the source of the film’s screen version, adapted by Howard Green and directed by Lowell Sherman.

Katharine Hepburn won her first Best Actress Oscar for her third RKO picture, as the aspiring young actress Eva Lovelace.  In the opening sequence of the film, the star-struck girl is seen walking slowly through the foyer of a theater gazing at the portrait gallery of theatrical celebrities Ethel Barrymore, Maude Adams, John Drew, Sarah Bernhardt.

Though a novice, she’s already confident of her skills—a brash young lady hailing from Franklin, Vermont.  The film is person as Hepburn is playing a girl very much like herself at the time.

Her progress is remarkable and rapid in the theater–also due to an affair with Louis Easton, the noted producer (well-played by Adolph Menjou).

Eva creates a sensation by stepping in for the recalcitrant leading lady on opening night.  Success naturally swells Eva’s head.  After creating a sensation by stepping in for the recalcitrant lady on opening night, she is fawned over by the stage crew, the producer, the director, and the playwright. 

Early on, Eva is warned by a veteran actor not to succumb to her fame:  “How many keep their heads?  You’ve come to the fore.  Now you have the chance to be a morning glory–a flower that fades before the sun is very high.”

Soon, producer Easton his back on her, as does everybody else.  But Eva is as determined as ever, saying: “I’m not afraid of being like a morning glory.  I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid.”

In this film, Adolph Menjou, as the noted producer Louis Easton, recited that immortal and often repeated line: “You don’t belong to any man now–you belong to Broadway!”

The movie represents a strange mix, an ambivalent study of the kind of lying-cheating and determination that prevail in the theater world.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Best Actress: Katharine Hepburn

Oscar Awards: 1

Best Actress

Oscar Context: This was the first of the four Best Actress Oscar that Katharine Hepburn won.

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