6.8/10
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Keeper of the Flame (1942)

Not Rated | | Drama, Mystery | December 1942 (USA)
Trailer
2:05 | Trailer
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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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 ... Piggot
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Storyline

American military leader and war hero Robert Forrest, 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 Forrest, 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, Clive ... 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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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

When Geoffrey is driving toward the Arsenal, initially you see three people inside the car and one person hanging on the outside of the driver's door. But on the next cut when Kerndon gets ready to shoot at the oncoming car; the person is now hanging on the passenger side door. See more »

Quotes

Doctor Fielding: Hero fever, I call it. Very modern. Ever since we've been getting out of touch with God, we've been pushovers for it. And the young get it the worst of all.
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 »

User Reviews

 
The only screen death
20 April 2005 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Keeper of the Flame is the answer to the trivia question, what film contained the only screen death for either Katherine Hepburn or Spencer Tracy in their joint projects.

This was their second teaming and after the comedy of Woman of the Year, they tried a change of pace with a melodrama. Pearl Harbor was still fresh in everyone's minds and so was the discredited isolationist movement.

It's chief spokesperson was Charles Lindbergh on whom the character of Hepburn's husband Robert Forrest was based. Lindbergh's too close association with Germany tarred him for the rest of his life.

Here Robert Forrest is killed right at the beginning of the film as he drives over a bridge that's ready to collapse. The death of Forrest brings out the grief of a nation and reporters flock to his Manderley like estate.

One of those reporters is Spencer Tracy who by some chicanery gains entrance to the place and meets the widow Forrest and her husband's chief aide Richard Whorf. The place reeks of sinister and Tracy's curiosity is aroused. He also meets Margaret Wycherly who is Hepburn's mother-in-law. She's one batty old dame. A far cry from Gary Cooper's mother a year before who Wycherly played in Sergeant York.

Hepburn seeks to preserve her late husband's reputation at the risk of her own in sending Tracy out on a red herring. He discovers the truth and how he does it and the result therein is the crux of the film.

Tracy and Hepburn are at their professional best working for the first time with George Cukor who later guided them through Adam's Rib and Pat and Mike. Richard Whorf is very good as the malevolent aide.

After over 60 years the film still packs a powerful dramatic punch.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

December 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die ganze Wahrheit See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,172,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$15,392
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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