MORNING GLORY (1933) B/W 74m dir: Lowell Sherman
w/Katharine Hepburn, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Adolphe Menjou, Mary Duncan, C. Aubrey Smith, Don Alvarado, Fred Santley, Richard Carle, Tyler Brooke, Geneva Mitchell
From The Movie Guide: "Hepburn received her first Oscar nomination for this, her third film, won the Oscar for her role, and was three times as good as the picture itself. The story paralleled Hepburn's own real-life experience so there was an undeniable streak of reality in her performance. Hepburn leaves a tiny burg in New England. She enters New York City as stagestruck as is humanly possible, but she soon learns that there are a lot of worms in the Big Apple and it's not the most hospitable place to seek fame and fortune. She encounters veteran actor Smith, who has been around since stages were lit by candles, and he takes an interest in her, teaches her a few tricks about acting, and squires her to the right parties. He brings her to a cocktail bash tossed by Duncan, a successful actress and neurotic woman in the Margot Channing (Bette Davis's role in ALL ABOUT EVE) mold. Hepburn hasn't eaten anything so she gets very drunk on champagne and performs two Shakespearean soliloquies for the sake of the startled party-goers. Later, Hepburn takes up with slick Menjou, a manager, then tosses him aside in favor of young playwright Fairbanks, who has written a new show that Duncan is to star in. When the actress goes off the deep end and leaves the show on opening night, guess who steps in, does the role, and is an overnight sensation?
"By the story outline, it's easy to see where ALL ABOUT EVE got some of its characters and inspiration. The young actress, the older and temperamental star, the playwright, the manager should be evident. The picture was remade as STAGE STRUCK with Susan Strasberg as the aspiring hopeful and Henry Fonda and Christopher Plummer as the men in her life. That film was not as successful as this one, which was raised in entertainment value by Hepburn's glowing performance. By 1933, the combination of backstage manipulations and overnight success was already a cliche that had been covered many times before. Merian C. Cooper served as the executive producer, and if that seems familiar, it's because he was also responsible for such films as THE FOUR FEATHERS, KING KONG, FORT APACHE, MIGHTY JOE YOUNG, THE QUIET MAN, and many more."