Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Morning Glory (1933)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Morning Glory (1933)

In director Lowell Sherman's show-business-related drama:

  • the scene of small-town theatre actress in Vermont, and aspiring Broadway performer Eva Lovelace (Oscar-winning Katharine Hepburn, her first Oscar win) waiting in the lobby of a major Broadway casting office, where she met her competition - a more experienced actress Miss Gwendolyn Hall (Geneva Mitchell) swathed in a fur wrap, who complained about the number of auditioners: ("Evidently everyone else has heard it too. When I arrived here, it looked as though the entire Actor's Equity Association had been sent for"); when Eva was asked about her thin coat, she replied snidely: ("I like to feel cold. It makes me feel strong. I shouldn't like to go about swathed in furs unless they're sables. I don't like anything cheap, particularly furs")
  • the scene of Eva Lovelace introducing herself to kindly, paternalistic veteran stage actor Robert Harley Hedges (C. Aubrey Smith), and explaining her name to him with her chatterbox style: ("I hope you're going to tell me your name. I want you for my first friend in New York. Mine's Eva Lovelace. It's partly made up and partly real. It was Ada Love. Love's my family name. I added the 'lace.' Do you like it, or would you prefer something shorter? A shorter name would be more convenient on a sign. Still, 'Eva Lovelace in Camille,' for instance, or 'Eva Lovelace in Romeo and Juliet' sounds very distinguished, doesn't it? I don't want to use my family name, because I'll probably have several scandals while I live and I don't want to cause them any trouble until I'm famous when nobody will mind. That's why I must decide on something at once while there's still time, before I'm famous. Don't you think there's something very charming, something that just suits me about Eva Lovelace?")
Eva Chattering About Her Name with
Stage Actor Robert Hedges
Eva with Broadway Manager Lewis Easton
Eva with Playwright Joseph Sheridan
  • the scene of stagestruck and yearning Eva's first meeting with slimy, opportunistic, philandering Broadway manager Lewis Easton (Adolphe Menjou), to promote herself, show him a remarkable letter from George Bernard Shaw, and describe her ambitious dreams of becoming a Broadway theatrical star: ("I was in a lot of plays at the Franklin Theatre Guild - at the Little Theater...At Franklin, Vermont, where I lived until sometime ago. The Franklin papers, both of them, agreed that I had a future. I play all sorts of parts. Hedda, you know, lbsen's Hedda of course, the old woman in Riders to the Sea, the queen in The Queen's Enemies by Dunsany, and Kitty in Shaw's You Never Can Tell...Yes, the one and only...He's the greatest living dramatist...I know it. By the way, I had a charming letter from him the other day. I wrote him and sent him a photograph of a scene from the play and told him all about it - that I was coming to New York and expected to be very famous and have a theater of my own so I could play his Cleopatra until I was too old for it, when I'd do Mrs. Warren's Profession. Of course, I didn't know whether he'd ever answer my letter or not, but here's his letter. May I read it to you? It's never left me a moment since I received it. I even sleep with it under my pillow")
  • in the next sequence, earnest young playwright Joe Sheridan (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) overheard the conversation and took a look at the letter, remarking: ("Oh, this is marvelous. He says it's cheeky of them to have produced a play of his at all. He's sure it was a, uh, piratical performance. He's glad that Miss, uh, Miss Lovelace?...He's glad Miss Lovelace will see that he's properly recognized when she has her own repertoire theater and hopes she won't forget him"); the overly-dramatic Eva replied and vowed: ("Oh, I won't. I've sworn it. There will always be a Shaw play in my repertoire as long as I remain in the theater. Of course, I expect to die at my zenith. My star shall never set, I've sworn that, too. And when that moment comes, when I feel that I've done my best, my very best, I shall really die by my own hand some night at the end of the play on the stage")
  • the scene of Eva Lovelace's champagne-drunk attendance at a cocktail party held in the penthouse of Lewis Easton, where she almost sat in his lap and boasted and revealed way too much about herself: ("I shouldn't be surprised if I'm a great actress...I shouldn't be surprised. Either I'm a rotten actress or I'm a great actress. I'm not just a pretty good actress. Now, sometimes, I think I'm very, very, very bad. No good. Tonight, I think I'm wrong when I think that. Oh, I feel wonderful, Mr. Easton. Not afraid anymore....You see, I wasn't afraid, not for a long time. When I lost a part, I thought it was because I was a genius, and geniuses always have a hard time....Yes, the world never appreciates genius when it's young. Then I began to get afraid. 'Maybe I'm crazy,' I got to thinking. 'Maybe I'm not a genius.' And then I said, 'It's better not to think.' In this world where but to think is to be full of sorrow, it's better.. But tonight I'm not afraid to think though, because I'm almost thoroughly convinced that I'm a genius again")
  • after pretentiously complimenting and then bragging to Easton: "This is a wonderful party, Mr. Easton....Yes, Mr. Easton, I like your party...I'm the greatest young actress in the world. I'm gonna go on getting greater and greater and greater, you'll see...", Hedges cautioned Eva about making a fool of herself, but she decided to prove everyone wrong: ("You're talking to the greatest actress in the world and I'm gonna prove it to you. Now keep quiet, all of you. And you. You, just wait a minute. Just watch me") - and she performed a slurred-speech rendition of Hamlet's soliloquy in front of startled party guests: ("To be or not to be - that is the question....")
  • she then went on to perform a second show-offy excerpt from the Romeo and Juliet balcony scene, taking the part of love-struck Juliet: ("Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name. Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love and I'll no longer be a Capulet...") - there was subdued applause when she finished, and Hedges complimented her: "Stylishly beautiful! Impossibly beautiful!" Even Easton added: "Really charming!"
  • the scene fifteen minutes before the curtain debut opening on Broadway for The Golden Bough, when Easton's troubled and temperamental star Miss Rita Vernon (Mary Duncan) outrageously demanded: "I want my name in electric lights from tomorrow on. I want a run of the play contract to play the part in New York, on the road and in London. I want $1,500 a week and half the profits, and a cut in on the picture rights - Think it over!...I don't need Broadway!" - she asserted that if she didn't get her way, she wouldn't go onstage; Easton decided to let her go and replaced her with her understudy ("the little Lovelace girl") - Eva - even without a rehearsal!; Easton returned to tell Rita of his decision: "Since you've decided to act in this most unprofessional manner and to take advantage of me at a moment like this, l've decided to let you do exactly as you please"
  • after being told she would replace Rita, Eva was petrified of failing and claimed she was too tired to act to romantic interest Joseph Sheridan: ("Suppose I do go on tonight and I'm not wonderful? Then everything's gone. If I can't act, there's nothing left...And I don't think I can act"); but then she bolstered her self-confidence and affirmed: "Oh, it was silly the way I just talked. Listen, I'll give a performance tonight that will make you proud of me"
  • after her triumphant debut performance on Broadway in The Golden Bough, backstage, Eva's middle-aged wardrobe woman Nellie Navarre (Helen Ware) congratulated her: "Your performance, my dear, was inspirational. I've seen them come, and I've seen them go. This is your moment. May God bless you while it lasts"
  • the scene backstage after Eva's triumphant debut performance when she was praised, but also lectured and warned by Hedges about instant success going to her head - like a "morning glory" which bloomed beautifully, but then quickly withered and died: ("Every year, in every theater, some young person makes a hit. Sometimes it's a big hit, sometimes a little one. It's a distinct success, but how many of them keep their heads? How many of them work? Youth comes to the fore. Youth has its hour of glory. But too often, it's only a morning glory - a flower that fades before the sun is very high")
  • in the film's poignant closing, the aspiring Broadway star made a curtain-closing (last lines) defiant statement in her dressing room, as she hugged tearful Nellie Navarre (who had been described by Hedges as very much like Eva - an "overnight" star years earlier who was "the toast of the town and then faded out"); Eva vowed that she would not quickly blossom, wither and die like so many other performers, although she acknowledged that she felt quite lonely, without love and empty: ("Nellie, they've all been trying to frighten me. They've been trying to frighten me into being sensible, but they can't do it. Not now. Not yet. They've got to let me be as foolish as I want to be. I-I want to ride through the park. I want to, I want to have a white ermin coat. And I'll buy you a beautiful present. And Mr. Hedges! I'll buy Mr. Hedges a little house. And I'll have rooms full of white orchids. And they've got to tell me that I'm much more wonderful than anyone else, because Nellie, Nellie, I'm not afraid. I'm not afraid of being just a morning glory. I'm not afraid. I'm not afraid. I'm not afraid. Why should I be afraid? I'm not afraid") - the film quickly faded to black

Eva in the Lobby of a Casting Office

Eva's Drunken Attendance at Lewis Easton's Party: "I'm a genius again"

Eva: "This is a wonderful party, Mr. Easton"

Eva: "I'm the greatest young actress in the world"

Performing Hamlet's Soliloquy

Performing An Excerpt from Romeo and Juliet Balcony Scene

Miss Rita Vernon's Outrageous Demands Just Before the Curtain

Backstage - Eva's Trepidation About Performing as a Replacement for Rita: ("I don't think I can act")

After Eva's Debut Performance -

Nellie: "Your performance, my dear, was inspirational"

A Warning From Hedges ("But too often it's only a morning glory...")

Eva in Her Dressing Room Vowing to Her Wardrobe Woman Nellie: "I'm not afraid!"


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