A Southern drama set in Georgia during the late 1930s, MORNING GLORY revolves around a miscarriage of justice, and accurately captures the pettiness of small town life. The plodding style and poorly handled mystery stifle what, in other hands, might have been a taut movie.
Ex-convict Will Parker looks for work in a small Georgia town. He finds it by answering Elly Densmore's ad for a husband. Although they don't get married at first, Parker agrees to work as a hired hand on the pregnant Elly's farm and help her look after her two children. Parker has a couple of
thorns in his side. Lula, a waitress, has the hots for the handsome ex-con, while the local sheriff threatens him with jail if he breaks parole. But taking solace in hard work, Parker sells eggs, fixes broken cars, and harvests honey. He also slowly develops a close relationship with Elly, despite
her reclusive ways and her reputation in town as a crazy woman, and eventually they get married.
Parker gets a job as the library custodian. One night at the library, Lula kisses him passionately; the following day, the sheriff finds her murdered on the back steps and arrests Parker. In jail, Parker, protesting his innocence, withdraws from Elly, thinking she has lost respect for him. But
she hasn't, and her love for Parker even forces her out of the house to hire a lawyer. The trial ambles along until Elly finds a valuable witness, an older man who can link the sheriff to Lula. The sudden shift in focus works, and the real murderers, two local drunks, incriminate themselves in the
courthouse. Parker goes free, and apologizes to Elly.
MORNING GLORY is a competently acted film with an interesting take on small-minded, suspicious, and sometimes cruel small town attitudes. Unfortunately, director Steven Hillard Stern dwells too long on the slow-blooming romance between Parker and Elly. While their bizarre marriage of convenience
is endearing, lingering on the odd couple's inarticulate silence slows down an already sluggish story. Stern's chance to generate some energy--the mystery surrounding Lula's murder and the subsequent trial--is strangely slighted; perhaps it was the victim of a short shooting schedule. Jumping
straight to the trial, Stern chooses to withhold vital information about the crime until the last moment--it's a rabbit-out-of-a-hat trick that doesn't build any suspense. (Adult situations.)
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- Released: 1993
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: A Southern drama set in Georgia during the late 1930s, MORNING GLORY revolves around a miscarriage of justice, and accurately captures the pettiness of small town life. The plodding style and poorly handled mystery stifle what, in other hands, might have b… (more)