Morning Glory Reviews
It's easy to forget how very young she was then. This was her third movie, her first Oscar. She was twenty-six then and could still pass for younger. She was ninety-six when she died; for my entire life, she was old. For as long as my mother can remember, she was middle aged. But there was a time, long ago, when Katharine Hepburn was young. In some ways, I think she was very like the character she played here--earnest and determined beyond the average. Wanting very much for everyone to be aware of how talented she was. She mellowed, with time, and I suspect her relationship with the more down-to-earth Spencer Tracy probably contributed to that, deeply messed up though that relationship was. However, part of me still likes young and earnest Katharine Hepburn, even when I find the characters she's playing to be more than a little embarrassing. I sympathize with them more than I really want to admit.
Ada Love (Hepburn) has come to New York to be an actress. She has begun called herself Eva Lovelace, and she wrote George Bernard Shaw to tell him of her admiration for him--and got a letter back. She is waiting in the office of Louis Easton (Adolphe Menjou), a theatrical producer (I think), in the hopes of auditioning for one of the plays he's putting on. He works with up-and-coming playwright Joseph Sheridan (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.), who is strangely captivated by Eva, even if she is brash and callow. She's lovely, and he can see that she has more talent than the kind of sophisticate so frequently cast in Easton's plays. Eva also befriends Bob Hedges (C. Aubrey Smith), an experienced actor who is also enchanted by her. Her pride will not let her admit just how much help she needs. She will not admit that she is broke and hungry, for example. However, Bob sees through her and goes out of his way to help her, even when she doesn't want to let him.
Of course, Eva is a lot luckier than hundreds, if not thousands, of others. Most young women who come from small towns to act in New York don't befriend producers' mascots. Mostly, they starve. Or go home. Or find a way of making a living that isn't acting. Now, that isn't as popular to watch. We want to see the underdog succeed. All the better when she is played by someone like Katharine Hepburn, who was never truly an underdog in her life. She was never going to have to worry about starving. Most of those women trying to come to the attention of producers and playwrights are not Bryn Mawr graduates. Still, there is something to her in these early performances, when she played a common woman. Eva Lovelace is from a small New England town. She did local theatre, and she tried to improve it. Despite the fact that young Katharine Hepburn instead met Margaret Sanger and fought for suffrage, you can still see her in the different kind of earnest nature of Eva.
That said, the movie itself isn't terribly good. It goes on a bit despite also being quite short. It's really more of a character study than anything else, but instead on focusing on what's genuinely interesting about the character, we hammer in a tiny amount of a romance between her and Sheridan. And only a very tiny one that I'm not sure is two-sided. I think Eva is as much in love with the theatre as any human, and there is at one point the implication that she believes she is about to begin an affair with Easton. And she's perfectly willing to do it, in part because she thinks it will help her career and in part because she thinks it's the sort of thing that that great actresses all have in their pasts. This is the thing that I don't think we bring out enough in Eva--her beliefs in what a great actress should do. We focus rather more on the men than we do on Eva, and I don't think that helps the movie, whether in plot or character. It's an unfortunate trend in movies that has not much changed.
And, yes, it was her first Oscar. I wasn't hugely fond of [i]Lady For a Day[/i]--and just didn't bother writing a review of its later remake, even if that remake did star Bette Davis in the role that didn't win an Oscar in the original. I haven't seen [i]Cavalcade[/i]. But I can't help wondering, given that there were only three nominees in the category that year, what other, possibly better, performances went unrecognized. Don't get me wrong; I love me some Katharine Hepburn. I have a great distaste at the idea that Meryl Streep will someday tie her record and win a fourth acting Oscar, though I take some comfort in knowing that at least one of hers was for supporting, while Katharine Hepburn never got a supporting nomination in her life. Still, I often wonder, in situations like this, what other performances might have been worth noting. It was in the silly first few years of the ceremony, where the eligible period was longer than a calendar year, so I don't know, alas, what was missed.
About a year after I graduated college, I had a job that, low-paying as it was, allowed me to move out of my one-room studio into a slightly larger studio with a small but separate kitchen. I could also afford cable. And with cable came Turner Classic Movies. And that's when I really learned the Hepburn Legacy. See, [i]The Philadelphia Story[/i] led me to [i]Holiday [/i]which led to [i]Bringing Up Baby[/i], which meant I had to find [i]Sylvia Scarlett[/i]. Then came [i]Woman of the Year[/i] and the 9 other movies she made with Spence, including [i]Keeper of the Flame[/i] and [i]The Sea of Grass[/i]. Hepburn became the first actress of whose work I became a completionist (and I [i]still[/i] haven't seen them all). And that's where TCM came in handy. I was able to find [i]Sylvia Scarlett[/i] and [i]Keeper of the Flame[/i] and [i]The Sea of Grass[/i] and [i]Alice Adams[/i] and [i]A Woman Rebels[/i] and, of course, [i]Morning Glory[/i], the first film for which Kate won one of her four Academy Awards.
I haven't seen many of these films since I first got them on tape five or six years ago. (In the interim I became distracted by the likes of Crawford, Davis, Garbo, Harlow and even Ruth Chatterton.) Hepburn plays Eva Lovelace from Franklin, Vermont. Eva has moved to New York in the hope of becoming an actress on Broadway. She is the epitome of every young woman who dreams of stardom but doesn't know the first thing about the realities of working in the theatre. In the opening scene, she is at producer Adolphe Menjou's office, trying to find work. She is befriended by an older actor (C. Aubrey Smith) and is given a small role by a young playwright (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) who is smitten with her. Months pass. She was fired from the first job for not being any good and Smith finds her in a coffee shop. He realized that she isn't working and probably hasn't eaten and invites her to join him at a party at Menjou's, where she imbibes too much champagne on an empty stomach and generally makes an ass of herself, demanding silence from the crowd while she recites monologues from [i]Hamlet[/i] and [i]Romeo and Juliet[/i].
There's more to the story, but this scene gives us the very essence of Hepburn. She's magnificent. Eva starts out at the party rather shy - she clearly isn't dressed for the occasion and she knows it. The champagne loosens her up and as giddiness gives way to all-out drunkenness, she is at once a petulant child, a ham, a flirt, an embarrassment and a surprisingly good Juliet. The scene was hard to watch, not because it was bad but because it was rather unnervingly real.
In addition to the Oscar, [i]Morning Glory[/i] is also important as it features the first Drunk Hepburn Scene. Nobody played drunk like Kate Hepburn. This particular aspect of her legacy continues through [i]The Philly Story[/i] and [i]Desk Set[/i] (I'm sure there are others) and reaches its apex with her brilliant morphine-addicted Mary Tyrone in [i]Long Day's Journey into Night[/i].
Golly, I almost forgot that I listed this as a pre-code. After she passes out at Adolph Menjou's, she's put to bed in his guest room. And as soon as everyone leaves, he sleeps with her. He is a producer after all. In the 50s, she would have ended up in a convent back in Vermont. But this is 1933. She ends up a hit in his next play (Molnar's [i]The Golden Bough,[/i] which her character had already translated from the German for fun) and with Fairbanks on her arm.
[color=blue]Clarification: She doesn't get into [i]The Golden Bough[/i] because she slept with Menjou. She's actually an understudy who goes on at the last minute (a dica has departed in a huff), after a vote of confidence from Fairbanks.[/color]
[font=Book Antiqua][size=5][color=#000000][color=black][font=Book Antiqua]Last week as usual I was watching TCM and they showed this movie called, "Morning Glory". I really enjoyed this film. The cast was excellent and the plot was great as well. It is about this young woman from a small town who is starting her acting career and has went to the top to start it. There is one problem that everyone at the top thinks she is flakey because she hasn't paid her dues yet and she is very melodramatic. There is a play that all the top actresses of their time want to play but they are all so full of themselves that the play write doesn't think they would be suitable for it. The movie takes you through all the twists and turns the young actress must endure. I would definitely suggest this movie to anyone. See what you think the next it comes on and tell me about it.[/font][/color][/color][/size][/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][size=5][color=#000000][color=black][font=Book Antiqua]Fritz ;) [/font][/color]