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Morning Glory (1933 film)

Morning Glory
Original US cinema poster
Directed byLowell Sherman
Screenplay byHoward J. Green
Based onMorning Glory (play)
by Zoë Akins
Produced byPandro S. Berman
StarringKatharine Hepburn
Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
Adolphe Menjou
CinematographyBert Glennon
Edited byWilliam Hamilton
Music byMax Steiner
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures (US)
Release date
  • August 18, 1933 (1933-08-18) (US)
Running time
70 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$582,000[1]

Morning Glory is a 1933 American Pre-Code drama film which tells the story of an eager would-be actress and her journey to stardom, and her gains and losses. The picture stars Katharine Hepburn, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and Adolphe Menjou, was adapted by Howard J. Green from a then-unproduced stage play of the same name[2] 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 is an aspiring performer from a small town who dreams of making it big on Broadway. Despite attending numerous auditions, she hasn't been given an opportunity yet. At the management office of the Easton Theatre, star actress Rita Vernon, known for her diva behavior and alcohol problem, negotiates a deal with the theater owner and producer, Louis Easton. Rita accepts a small role in an upcoming play in exchange for her pick of roles in the next production. Eva impresses Robert Hedges, an experienced actor, who agrees to help her. Playwright Joseph Sheridan is also captivated by Eva's vibrant personality. Months pass, and Eva struggles to find significant roles while moving frequently due to financial difficulties.

Hedges eventually finds Eva in a desperate situation and takes her to a celebrity party at Easton's apartment. Inebriated, Eva makes a scene, but surprises everyone by delivering powerful Shakespearean monologues. She falls asleep and is put to bed by Easton's butler. The next morning, Easton, feeling guilty for taking advantage of Eva's innocence, confides in Sheridan and asks for his help. Sheridan, who is secretly in love with Eva, decides not to reveal the truth to her, causing her to leave with the belief that her night with Easton marks the start of a committed relationship.

Months go by, and Eva repeatedly tries to see Easton, who ignores her. Sheridan keeps his feelings hidden as well. Easton's theater company prepares to showcase Sheridan's new play, with Rita as the star. On opening night, Rita demands a written contract with a huge salary increase and half the profits from the play. Feeling cornered, Easton considers complying, but Sheridan suggests bringing in Eva as a surprise understudy instead. Reluctantly, Easton agrees, leading to Rita storming off the set.

In Rita's dressing room, Eva and Sheridan find themselves together. Overwhelmed by the sudden opportunity, Eva is filled with doubt and fear. She feels unable to perform in front of Easton, and questions her own talents and inevitable failure. Sheridan reassures her, reminding her of her strength, beauty, and natural acting abilities. Encouraged by his words, Eva regains her confidence and decides to embrace the role.

As predicted by Sheridan, Eva's performance is a resounding success. Backstage, Easton reconciles with Eva, offering her his professional friendship and support. After Easton leaves, Sheridan musters the courage to confess his love for Eva, but she remains silent, leaving their relationship uncertain. Left alone with her dresser, an elderly former star known as "morning glory," Eva is comforted and reminded that true love is the most important thing in life, as her dresser once made the mistake of choosing fame over love.

Renewed and ready to face the challenges ahead, Eva prepares herself for the rocky road to stardom. The film ends on an optimistic note, with Eva confidently declaring to her dresser that she is unafraid to be a "morning glory."

Main cast

Lobby card


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 thereupon 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.[2] 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).[2] 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.[2]

Box office

After cinema circuits deducted their exhibition share of box office tickets, this film earned a profit of $115,000.[1]

Radio adaptations

On September 19, 1938 Lux Radio Theatre broadcast a one-hour radio adaptation of the film, starring Barbara Stanwyck, Melvyn Douglas and Ralph Bellamy.[3] On October 12, 1942 a second Lux Radio Theatre adaptation was aired, this time starring Judy Garland as Eva Lovelace, with Adolphe Menjou reprising his role of Louis Easton.[4] Garland performed the song "I'll Remember April" on the broadcast.

On April 7, 1949 a half-hour radio adaptation was aired on Hallmark Playhouse with Elizabeth Taylor in the lead role of Eva Lovelace.[5]


  1. ^ a b c Richard Jewel, 'RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 14 No 1, 1994 p55
  2. ^ a b c d AFI Catalog of Feature Films: Morning Glory Linked 2013-11-02
  3. ^ "Lux Radio Theatre Tonight (advertisement)". The Reading Eagle. 1938-09-19. p. 13. Retrieved 2021-05-20.
  4. ^ "Pittsburgh Radio Programs -- Monday Afternoon and Evening". The Pittsburgh Press. 1942-10-12. p. 25. Retrieved 2021-05-20.
  5. ^ "Thursday Selections". Toledo Blade (Ohio). 1949-04-07. p. 4 (Peach Section). Retrieved 2021-05-20.
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Morning Glory (1933 film)
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