Katharine Hepburn won her first Oscar for her portrayal of Eva Lovelace, a small-town community-theatre actress who comes to New York dreaming of theatrical stardom. She amuses producer Adolphe Menjou and playwright Douglas Fairbanks Jr. with her naively pretentious prattle, but neither man takes her too seriously. Both, however are attracted to Eva: Menjou has a brief affair with her, but she yearns for the more reserved Fairbanks. Partly out of sympathy, Fairbanks arranges for Eva to understudy the troublesome star (Mary Duncan) of Menjou's latest production. When the star walks out on opening night, Eva goes on in her stead, and is universally hailed as a brilliant new find. Backstage after her triumph, Eva is warned not to let her sudden success go to her head lest she become a "morning glory": a briefly spectacular "bloomer" that withers and dies within a very short time. Proof of this warning is Eva's maid, a middle-aged woman who had also been an instant star years earlier. But Eva is too intoxicated by the thrill of realizing her life's dream; embracing her weeping maid, Eva declares to the world that she doesn't care if she is a morning glory. The film fades as Eva shouts defiantly "I'm not afraid! I'm not afraid!" Adapted from a stage play by Zoe Akins, Morning Glory was remade in 1957 as Stage Struck, with Susan Strasberg as Eva Lovelace.
by Hal Erickson synopsis