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Keeper of the Flame (1942)

Passed  -  Drama | Mystery  -  December 1942 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,239 users  
Reviews: 36 user | 12 critic

Journalist Steve O'Malley wants to write a biography of a national hero who died when his car ran off a bridge. Steve receives conflicting reports and tales that make him question what the truth about the hero is.

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Title: Keeper of the Flame (1942)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Steven 'Stevie' O'Malley
...
Mrs. Christine Forrest
Richard Whorf ...
Clive Kerndon
Margaret Wycherly ...
Old Mrs. Forrest
...
Geoffrey 'Geoff' Midford
Frank Craven ...
Doctor Fielding
Stephen McNally ...
Freddie Ridges (as Horace McNally)
Percy Kilbride ...
Orion Peabody, Taxi Driver
Audrey Christie ...
Jane Harding
...
Jeb Rickards
...
Mr. Arbuthnot
Howard Da Silva ...
Jason Rickards (as Howard da Silva)
William Newell ...
Piggot, the Horse Handler
Edit

Storyline

Journalist Steve O'Malley wants to write a biography of a national hero who died when his car ran off a bridge. Steve receives conflicting reports and tales that make him question what the truth about the hero is.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

FIERY LOVE DRAMA! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

December 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die ganze Wahrheit  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Louis B. Mayer was very unhappy about the film's political content, thinking it noncommercial. Katharine Hepburn too felt that the storyline was too dull and needed to be pepped up with some romance. She complained to producer Victor Saville about this but he ignored her comments, so Hepburn went directly to Mayer who was only too happy to make the film into a more conventional Hollywood romance. See more »

Goofs

The button on Christine's coat during her final scene. See more »

Connections

Edited into Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Marcia Funebre
(uncredited)
from "Symphony No.3 in E Flat Major "Eroica", Op.55" (1806)
Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
played as background music during the funeral
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Midnight Oil
12 August 2001 | by (brighton, ma) – See all my reviews

This film is early in the Tracy-Hepburn canon, and not widely regarded as one of their best efforts. The thing is, coming out so shortly after their landmark Woman Of the year, it isn't properly a Tracy-Hepburn vehicle so much as a George Cukor-Donald Ogden Stewart movie in which they happen to appear.

It is the story of a newspaperman (Tracy) out to investigate the circumstances behind the death of a much beloved American hero, meets and falls in love with the man's widow (Hepburn)who, along with everyone else whoever knew the man, seems to be harboring some dark secrets as to the true nature of his character. The film owes some obvious debts to Citizen Kane in being the inside scoop on a recently deceased man presumed to be great but who was in actuality something else altogether. In its somber mood, forbidding mansion, enigmatic and generally paranoid aspect, Keeper of the Flame suggests Kane in many regards, but is, to be fair, its own film.

Tracy and Hepburn play their roles exceedingly well. The supporting cast is well-chosen, and Percy Kilbride does a nice turn as a cab-driver; while Margaret Wycherly is scarifying as the dead man's mad mother; and a young, Aryan-looking-as-all-getout Forrest Tucker scoots about on a motorcycle like he'd join Hitler's minions at the drop of a hat. Richard Whorf in what at the time must have seemed a 'daring' performance, plays a fussy secretary to the dead hero in a manner which suggests a combination of repressed mania and strong homosexual tendencies. His character is wholly unbelievable but awfully fun to watch.

The movie has a dark, gothic cast to it, and was obviously filmed on a studio back-lot, but the result is not so much unreality as the suggestion of a fairy tale or a fable strangely consistent with the film's intent, and hence satisfying, making its woods and country roads look at times like a weird and twisted perversion of a Norman Rockwell painting.


16 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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