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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:

The screen's most exciting lovers in their newest romantic triumph! 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

(at around 43 mins) When O'Malley asks Jeb where his sister is now, we hear Jeb answering, but his mouth doesn't move. 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

 
A great character study cloaked in mystery
5 April 2006 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

I'm sure anyone seeing this film will wonder just what is happening. This great cast made a very serious movie and were lines they could deliver powerfully dramatically and evenly to convey a whole range of emotions.

The plot is easily summarized. A reporter, O'Malley (Spencer Tracy) wants to write -- what? he's not certain -- a piece on an icon who people revere in the same way they might (say) Washington or Lincoln, The first part of the film is documents how to get to see the icon's wife. She's reclusive and her servants are dedicated to preserving her sanctity. What's behind this isolation? That in itself is a bothersome question for O'Malley. Something is not ringing right. She was the wife of a popular public figure. Why wouldn't she cooperate? As he digs, he finds he cannot write the story, at first because he does not know enough, and then because he knows too much of the wrong thing and finally because he suspects he does not know what is hidden from him and it is critical.

And as he untwists the Gordian knot that is presented to him, he finds there is duplicity and mendacity on every level. But nothing is as simple as it seems. Instead of writing about the icon, he picks the wife.

But that is not the depth of the film. The depth is revealed as we learn about the Hepburn character and Tracy's response. He moves from someone who can ignore genuine interest in him by a woman, (Audrey Christie), and seek his goal. What develops is first a genuine friendship followed by an admiration that transcends almost any other kind of relationship.

That is a very complicated situation to convey in the simple straight forward acting method of Tracy's (but he always manages to do what is required of him), and mysterious sophisticated quality that Hepburn always wears like some garment only given once by the gods who give such gifts.

This is not an easy exercise. Don't get caught in the datedness. Watch how the actors, directors and writers put together something that is admirable in its mixture of simplicity and complexity -- what others have called pealing the onionskin off the inion.


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