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Keeper of the Flame (1942)

Not Rated | | Drama, Mystery | December 1942 (USA)
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.

Director:

George Cukor

Writers:

I.A.R. Wylie (novel), Donald Ogden Stewart (screenplay)
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Director: George Cukor
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Brian Aherne
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Spencer Tracy ... Steven O'Malley
Katharine Hepburn ... Christine Forrest
Richard Whorf ... Clive Kerndon
Margaret Wycherly ... Mrs. Forrest
Forrest Tucker ... Geoffrey Midford
Frank Craven ... Dr. Fielding
Stephen McNally ... Freddie Ridges (as Horace McNally)
Percy Kilbride ... Orion Peabody
Audrey Christie ... Jane Harding
Darryl Hickman ... Jeb Rickards
Donald Meek ... Mr. Arbuthnot
Howard Da Silva ... Jason Rickards (as Howard da Silva)
William Newell William Newell ... Piggot
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Storyline

American military leader and war hero Robert Forrester, universally beloved and respected within the country and thus touted as Presidential material, has just died in a freak car accident on his sprawling estate, where, during an unexpected rainstorm, the car he was driving plunged over a ravine as he didn't notice the washed-out bridge. While the nation mourns, the national reporters descend on his small hometown to write the story of the incident. One reporter who won't is renowned Steven O'Malley, who wants instead to write an in-depth piece on the man to preserve his status within the public consciousness. Although happy to use official documents and records, O'Malley wants most specifically to speak to his wife, Christine Forrester, which may be a difficult task as she has refused to grant any interviews as a very private person. O'Malley is able to meet with Christine in person, and although she is reluctant to oblige his request at first, she is convinced by Robert's aide, ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

December 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die ganze Wahrheit See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

Right after Old Mrs. Forrest complains about her son having been "stabbed in the back", she is shown with her hand at chest level. Immediately afterward, there is a cut to a wider shot, and her hand is down by her waist. See more »

Quotes

Orion Peabody: Banks ain't interested in motorbike ridin'.
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

 
Keeper of the Flame is a good political drama. It has Hepburn, Tracy, and interesting plot twists, all of which will hold your attention.
7 October 2005 | by DebbiejeanSee all my reviews

Keeper of the Flame was made during the early days of World War II. It revolves around the life, beliefs, and death of one man but is a lesson for one nation, or one world, interested in the freedoms we were fighting for and the evils we were fighting against in 1942.

Spencer Tracy portrays a reporter-to-author who is to write the biography of a man recently deceased. The deceased was a very successful businessman who had launched a campaign for public office but was killed --- by accident, intention, or a combination of the two --- before he could claim his victory. And, it would have been a victory; The public was charmed by the man they believed embodied the American ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness... or success. Hepburn plays the widow of this 'man of the people', and, as such, someone who must be interviewed by Tracy. The more questions Tracy asks of those near and dear to his subject, the fewer answers he finds. Our reporter eventually comes to believe there is one American ideal with which his deceased subject did NOT agree: The equality of all men, regardless of race or religion.

Ever the typical skeptical journalist, Tracy won't begin to write for publication until he can fully answer a few interesting questions: Who had this man really been? Had he been the steadfast and lone American patriot all believed him to be ... or had he been a member of an organization whose primary goal was to raise one ethnic, religious, and racial group above the rest? Had he really been killed in an 'accident'? And, if not, had he been killed by those who agreed or disagreed with his political motives?

Also of interest to our journalist: How well had Hepburn's character known her husband? Does she agree with his political agenda? How much does she really know about the 'accident' that killed him. And, most importantly, how far would she... or anyone else... go to make sure her husband was remembered as an honest American?

This movie is a mystery / political thriller / morality play / who-done-it. It is also a lesson to 'be careful what you wish for' and highly recommended.


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