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Keeper of the Flame

41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

War correspondent stumbles on a little known fact that an honored American war patriot had in fact worked for the Fascists; wife urges writer to expose the facts for history.

Amazon.com

It's no surprise that Keeper of the Flame came out in 1942, the same year as Casablanca. In this would-be film noir, the problems of two little people again don't amount to a hill of beans when it comes to fighting fascism in other countries--not to mention the United States. Spencer Tracy stars as Steven O'Malley, a war correspondent who comes home to write a book about a great industrialist who's died under mysterious circumstances. He hopes to gain insight from the man's wife (Katharine Hepburn), but she is reticent to play along with the reporter. It's not difficult to figure out the "truth" that Tracy discovers, but the film is an interesting piece of period propaganda. Director George Cukor (who also directed Tracy and Hepburn in Adam's Rib and Pat and Mike) is definitely making what they used to call a message picture, but Tracy and Hepburn's always-apparent chemistry keeps it fun to watch. --Paige Newman

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Product Details

  • Actors: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Richard Whorf, Margaret Wycherly, Forrest Tucker
  • Directors: George Cukor
  • Writers: Donald Ogden Stewart
  • Producers: Victor Saville
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 12, 2011
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004K4FUK2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,289 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Keeper of the Flame" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 27, 1998
Format: VHS Tape
Steven O'Malley, who is a reporter played by Spencer Tracy, comes to a small town to find the truth behind a hero of the town whose name is Robert Forrest. This great hero has just died and Steven O'Malley begins to feel this great man was not all he appeared to be. He finds it hard to reach Forrest's widow Christine who he wants to interview. The widow is played by Katharine Hepburn who gives a superb performance. O'Malley finds himself falling in love with the widow. He also finds that no one close to Forrest wants him to find out the truth about this great hero. You will find yourself wanting to discover the truth. It is filled with suspense, romance, and mystery and is a must-see!!
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 28, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This is an interesting choice for the second Tracy-Hepburn picture, following the success of "Woman of the Year," but then all of the films Katharine Hepburn made during World War II were interesting choices. In "Stage Door Canteen," while other stars performed, Hepburn shared in the film's main dramatic scene and in "Dragon Seed" she played a Chinese peasant girl. However, "Keeper of the Flame" is clearly Spencer Tracy's film. He plays Steven O'Malley, a famous correspondent who has returned from Europe to cover the death an American national hero, Robert V. Forrest. Hepburn plays the reclusive widow, a role that eerily foreshadows Jacqueline Kennedy in some regards, whom O'Malley comes to suspect of having murdered her husband. However, to his surprise, O'Malley discovers that Forrest's supernationalism was merely a facade for fascism. There is more going on here than meets the eye. Based an "unwritten" novel by I. A. R. Wylie and scripted by Donald Odgen Stewart, the choice of George Cukor to direct the film is quite surprising. Cukor and cinematographer William Daniels do their best to create a Hitchcock-type film, but the overall effect is a pale imitation at best. Hepburn seems ill-suited to the role of the widow with a secret, although certainly her political sensibilities would support the point of the film. Tracy is a bit subdued, no doubt because of the conflict between his feelings for Christine Forrest and his desire to uncover the truth no matter what the cost, but this is still a solid performance from one of the greatest film actors.
Overall the fascist threat seems too muted in this film.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By R. Christenson / Lunamation on May 16, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
One of my favorite Spencer Tracy movies, Keeper of the Flame is probably the most serious of all the films teaming Tracy with Katherine Hepburn, perhaps the only one that might fit the "noir" class. Mystery surrounds the death of national hero Robert Forrest. Reporter Steve O'Malley (Tracy) wants to do a biography of the late statesman, but the closer he tries to get to the family on their huge estate (sort of a gothic version of the Kennedy Compound), the more it seems Forrest's widow (Hepburn) and secretary are trying to hide something. Tracy begins to suspect their foul involvement in the hero's supposed accidental death. In addition to the great Tracy and Hepburn and an intrigueing story, there are fine performances from the supporting cast which includes a young Forrest Tucker (The Ghost Busters a.k.a. Spencer, Tracy, and Kong), Darryl Hickman (Fighting Father Dunn), Howard da Silva (1776), Percy Kilbride (Pa Kettle), and others.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lidash63 on April 8, 2006
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Very different from other Tracy/Hepburn films, both in style and substance. I have viewed this multiple times and thoroughly enjoy it. Strong political theme has kept this from being one of the top films.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Scott T. Rivers VINE VOICE on July 28, 2011
Format: VHS Tape
No one expected Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn - let alone MGM - to follow "Woman of the Year" with a disturbing political drama. The Tracy-Hepburn chemistry remains vital to "Keeper of the Flame" (1943). Unfortunately, director George Cukor lacks the hard edge necessary to deliver an emotional wallop - little helped by Donald Ogden Stewart's erratic screenplay. Shot entirely on the Culver City backlot, the art direction and photography have an American Gothic atmosphere refreshingly at odds with the MGM gloss. Despite its heavy-handedness and uncertain pacing, "Keeper of the Flame" survives as a fascinating wartime curio.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Ash on June 27, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I've waited years for this prescient 1942 film to finally appear on DVD after watching it only on Turner Classic Movies, despite the presence of legendary stars Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. Donald Ogden Stewart's screenplay from the I.A.H. Wylie novel foreshadowed the healthy skepticism needed in these contentious times about supposedly grassroots political movements that hide an agenda unknown to those involved in promoting that movement.
In "Keeper of the Flame"'s opening, we see a car taking a flying leap from a bridge that has been washed out. As we learn from the following montage, the crash killed incredibly wealthy Robert Forrest, who has become, through his self-sponsored "America Forward!" movement, one of the USA's most beloved political figures since Lincoln, though he's never held political office. The world's press has descended on Forrest's hometown to write tributes to The Great Man and interview his widow Christine (Hepburn), who remains unavailable however.
Be forewarned, what follows is not your typical Tracy/Hepburn "Woman of the Year" or "Adam's Rib" romp, which might explain its tardy appearance on disc. Director George Cukor created no real romantic or comic banter between Hepburn's not-so-merry widow and Tracy's investigative reporter Steve O"Malley, although Tracy's fellow reporter Jane Harding, played by a delightfully sardonic Audrey Christie, fills that bill quite nicely. Rather, Cukor spends a great deal of time building suspense around Tracy's subtle peeling back the facade of Forrest's deception in his talks with Hepburn, who agrees to speak with Tracy through the duplicitous encouragement of Forrest's unctuous assistant, slimily played by the dead-on casting of Richard Whorf.
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