Morning Glory (1933 film)
Original US cinema poster
|Directed by||Lowell Sherman|
|Produced by||Pandro S. Berman|
|Screenplay by||Howard J. Green|
|Based on||Morning Glory (play)
by Zoë Akins
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
|Music by||Max Steiner|
|Edited by||William Hamilton|
|Distributed by||RKO Radio Pictures (US)|
Morning Glory is a 1933 Pre-Code American drama film which tells the story of an eager would-be actress and her journey to stardom, and what she loses as a result. The picture stars Katharine Hepburn, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and Adolphe Menjou, was adapted by Howard J. Green from a then not yet stage produced play with the same name by Zoë Akins, and was directed by Lowell Sherman. Hepburn won her first Academy Award for Best Actress for this movie. Morning Glory was remade in 1958 under the title Stage Struck.
Eva Lovelace (Katharine Hepburn) is a performer from a small town who has hoped since childhood to make it big on Broadway. She goes to auditions and tries to get a role in an upcoming play that would help her make it to the big time. While there, one other actress auditioning makes the cut as she is under contract with the company, but in fact the boss would love to get rid of this pest of a woman. A theatre coach (C Aubrey Smith), whom she meets while waiting to talk to Louis Easton (Adolphe Menjou), agrees to give her acting lessons.
She later meets Joseph Sheridan (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.), who agrees to give her a small part in an upcoming Broadway play. As the play is about to begin, the star of the show Rita Vernon (Mary Duncan), a blonde theatre star under contract with Easton, starts making demands for money in a contract she wants. When she is not obliged, she storms off the set and the show is without a star. The production crew frantically tries to find a replacement. As a last resort, they choose Eva Lovelace to play the star of the show and she gets her big break. She quickly rehearses her lines and makes an excellent debut as a star but the road is rocky and the film ends on a far from happy note.
- Katharine Hepburn as Eva Lovelace
- Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. as Joseph Sheridan
- Adolphe Menjou as Louis Easton
- Mary Duncan as Rita Vernon
- C. Aubrey Smith as Robert Harley "Bob" Hedges
- Don Alvarado as Pepi Velez
- Fredric Santley as Will Seymour, Easton's assistant
- Richard Carle as Henry Lawrence, theatrical critic
- Tyler Brooke as Charley Van Duesen
- Geneva Mitchell as Gwendoline Hall
- Helen Ware as Nellie Navarre, wardrobe woman
In pre-production, the script had been tailored to fit the talents of Constance Bennett, then RKO's biggest attraction. However, when newcomer Katharine Hepburn read the script, she convinced producer Pandro S. Berman that she was born to play the part, and she was given the role over the more popular Bennett, who was thereby reassigned to Bed of Roses (1933).
When RKO bought the rights to the play from Zoë Akins, it still hadn't been produced on stage. It eventually saw a limited stage run in 1939. The director Lowell Sherman managed to get the RKO bosses to agree that he was given a week of rehearsal with the actors before the shooting began, in return for promising a shooting schedule of only 18 days (April 21 - May 12, 1933). Unlike most feature films, Morning Glory was shot in the same sequence as the script. Katharine Hepburn was paid $2,500 per week for her work on the picture, for which she eventually won her first Academy Award for Best Actress.
After cinema circuits deducted their exhibition share of boxoffice ticket sales this production earned a profit of $115,000.
In October, 1942, Lux Radio Theatre broadcast a radio adaptation of the film, starring Judy Garland as Eva Lovelace and Adolphe Menjou reprising his role of Louis Easton. Garland performed the song "I'll Remember April" on the broadcast.
In 1949, a second radio adaptation was aired on the radio, this time with Elizabeth Taylor in the lead role of Eva Lovelace.
- Richard Jewel, 'RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951', Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14 No 1, 1994 p55
- AFI Catalog of Feature Films: Morning Glory Linked 2013-11-02