The Substance of Fire (1996)

R  |   |  Drama  |  14 March 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 528 users   Metascore: 54/100
Reviews: 16 user | 14 critic | 15 from

Publishing magnate refuses to publish a book by his son's male lover so the kids buy out their father and run it themselves!



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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Aaron Geldhart
Benjamin Ungar ...
Young Isaac Geldhart
Martin Geldhart
Tom McDermott ...
Old Printer
George Morfogen ...
Otto the printer
Isaac Geldhart
Cora Cahn
Mr. Otani jr
Edmund Ikeda ...
Mr. Otani sr
Miss Barzakian
Val Chenard
Gene Byck
Ronny Graham ...
Louis Foukold
John Sullivan ...


Isaac Geldhart is a Holocaust survivor who, overcome by grief at the recent death of his wife, seems determined to run his publishing firm into the ground by printing books that have no hope of financial success. His son Aaron, who also works at the company, grows frustrated with Isaac's emotional decline and attempts to take over the firm. The resulting crisis involves Isaac's other two children, his daughter Sarah and his dying son Martin. Written by Jesse Garon <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Doing What Is Right... Could Cost Him Everything.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »




Release Date:

14 March 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A tűz melege  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$56,221 (USA) (14 March 1997)


$56,221 (USA) (14 March 1997)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Film debut of Viola Davis. See more »


Sarah Geldheart: Tell me the truth. Does anybody actually finish a book once they have formed an opinion of it?
See more »


Referenced in Showbiz Today: Episode dated 28 August 1995 (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

This movie was pretty decent
9 July 2000 | by (Phoenix, AZ) – See all my reviews

I thought that this was an interesting look at how one person's hardheadedness can affect a family so strongly. Ron Rifkin did a wonderful job portraying 'Isaac'. I think he's a very underrated actor and I even loved his annoying accent.!( He uses the same accent that he had on "I'm not Rappaport.") I read an interview where he compares the movie vs. the stage version and supposedly it ends differently. I would have liked to have seen the play.

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