Keeper of the Flame

1942

Drama / Mystery

89
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 64%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 64%
IMDb Rating 6.8 10 2,228

Synopsis


Downloaded times
January 12, 2021

Director

Cast

Darryl Hickman as Paul Enley Kyng
Forrest Tucker as Geoffrey Midford
Katharine Hepburn as Christine Forrest
Spencer Tracy as Manuel
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
923.69 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
100 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.67 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
100 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by theowinthrop 10 / 10 / 10

The Prototype For Philip Roth's "The Plot Against America"

Of all the films done by Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy (except, possibly, "Sea Of Grass" and their last film, "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner - the latter for a different reason), "Keeper Of The Flame" was the great downer among the Hepburn - Tracy romps. "Sea Of Grass" has a portrait of a ruthless western cattle baron played by Tracy, whose happiness is marred by Kate's dalliance with Melvyn Douglas and the actual provenance of his "son" Robert Walker (who dies in his arms). "Guess", of course, was saddened by the decline in Tracy's health, visible in several scenes, and that last moving speech about his passions for Hepburn remaining even in his old age. But "Keeper" ends with Hepburn's death. As pointed out elsewhere on this thread it was rare for Hepburn to die in her film ("Christopher Strong" and "Mary of Scotland" come to mind as exceptions preceding "Keeper"...few came afterward too). Actually "Keeper of the Flame" is more than just the sole tragic film of the Tracy - Hepburn series. It is their only joint attempt at a film noir. It is also a thinly disguised discussion of one of the most controversial heroes of 20th Century American History: Charles Augustus Lindbergh. Robert Forrest is a great national hero, whose very existence gave the reporter Steve O'Malley (Tracy) a warm, glowing feeling when he was abroad, studying the mess in Europe and Asia. With people like Forrest at home, O'Malley felt that America had nothing to fear about it's security and freedom. Then, like most Americans, he was shocked and saddened to hear that Forrest was killed in a car accident on his estate. He is sent to the estate on an assignment, and intends to do a bit of personal research to give a proper final magazine monument to his hero's memory. But he meets Forrest's widow Christine (Hepburn) and finds that her behavior is odd - and not very upset at the death of the great man. He notes her interest in her cousin Geoff Midford (Forrest Tucker), which seems too close for decency. Also he notes how Forrest's "agreeable" secretary Clive Kerndon (Richard Whorf) acts with a degree of secrecy and even threat towards Christine. "Keeper Of The Flame" never really makes Forrest an exact copy of Lindbergh. After all, the "Lone Eagle" was still alive in 1942, and capable of suing MGM. But it leaves at least one "Lindbergh" trace in Forrest's background, which most people would not notice unless they read the recent novel by Philip Roth "The Plot Against America". Roth has the Republicans, in 1940, nominate Lindbergh to run against FDR, and Lindbergh wins. This keeps us out of World War II, and it turns our country into a neo-Fascist state. In actuality, Lindbergh was suggested as a Vice Presidential candidate to run with Wendell Wilkie, but he did not get that nomination. If you listen to Whorf's dialog, at one point he is willing to allow Tracy hear a recording of Forrest's speech at the 1940 convention rejecting that nomination. But there is no mention of how Forrest became such a national hero - certainly nothing about aviation. And there is no mention of any children with Christine who got kidnapped and murdered. As I said, the studio did not want to be sued. But the unpleasant experience of Lindbergh's American First crusade, culminating in his notorious "Des Moines" speech where he hinted at Jewish influence to push the U.S. into war, was sufficient to make the character of Forrest stand for only one other American. The slow revelation of Forrest's true character, his egomania and arrogance - his embrace of fascism for power, and his huge following with other malcontents is done well. Of course, today, seeing the film and knowing it's reputation, the effect of the slow revelations is not as effective as in it's original release in 1942. Best moment in this is Margaret Wycherley's as Forrest's senile mother - but a senile woman whose character is as bent as her son's. Notice her comments about the size of houses. Hepburn's performance, of the two leads, is weaker - she does show her everlasting intelligence as Christine, but little of the passion that guides her to do what she has to do. Tracy is better - he is a true believer in the cult of Forrest, and his disillusionment is painful ("Robert Forrest...what happened?"). But for my money it is Whorf's performance which is the best, because of his quiet fanaticism in protecting the great man's secret, and his menace towards Hepburn. If one only thinks of Whorf as Sam Harris in "Yankee Doodle Dandy" (which he made the same year), this performance is a revelation of his strength as a dramatic actor. Whorf had a short life (he died in the 1960s), and gradually became a film and television director. He could have remained a very effective dramatic actor.

Reviewed by jotix100 8 / 10 / 10

Fascists in our midst

"Keeper of the Flame", the 1942 George Cukor movie was shown recently on cable. The screen play is by Donald Ogden Stewart, one of the best writers working in movies at the time. This somber film holds our interest because of Mr. Cukor's excellence as a director. The film was also the second film that Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn did together. The great Robert Forrester, a man that is considered a patriot, has died. We are taken at the beginning of the film to witness his funeral during a rainy spell. It appears how much the death of this man has touched the people, as we see lining the streets of the small town where he lived. Steven O'Malley, a news correspondent comes into town to report about it. He is a distinguished journalist that wants to get a first hand view of what was behind the accident that caused the death. He wants to meet the widow, the enigmatic Christine Forrest, who at first is reluctant to cooperate, but who is one of the keys to solving the mystery. Fascism, was one of the themes that preoccupied Hollywood before and during WWII. The figure of Robert Forrest seemed to be modeled after Charles Lindberg. Both men's lives appear to have shared a common interest in their admiration for all the things that were happening in Germany during that period. It was obvious that O'Malley will get in waters about his head as he investigates, but the awful truth emerges, and it's not pretty. Spencer Tracy proves why he was one of the best actors in movies during that period this movie was done. He worked effortlessly in front of the camera, yet, his interpretation of O'Malley comes as one of the best things he ever played. Katherine Hepburn, in a subdued performance, is also an equal match for Mr. Tracy. Her Christine Forrester was also one of her best appearances. The supporting players, Richard Whorf, the excellent Margaret Wycherly, Forrest Tucker, Audrey Christie, and Darryl Hickman, among them, contribute to make this movie better.

Reviewed by finemot 8 / 10 / 10

Revisited after all these years, it holds up pretty well.

I first saw "Keeper of the Flame" a few years after its original release (1942), probably around age 13, which would make it 1946. At the time of its release, it received mixed reviews at best. I, personally, was quite moved by it. Now, 53 years later, I've seen it again. Although the film is a bit dated and its central theme was better hyped at the time of its release, I believe it holds up fairly well. The film concerns itself with blind hero worship, as a mesmerized nation mourns the sudden accidental death of a national icon. A much respected reporter (Spencer Tracy), just back from Europe where he's witnessed the early horrors of World War II prior to U.S. entry into the conflict, has arrived just after the great man's tragic auto accident. He decides to write the hero's biography, so to immortalize his memory. While he manages to distance himself from the jostling pool of reporters, his biggest challenge is in seeing the great man's reclusive widow (Katharine Hepburn). In short, once the contact is made and the research process undertaken, we see the deceased as through a prism of characters: the eerily effective secretary (Richard Whorf); the down-home philosopher-cab driver (Percy Kilbride); the laconic and somewhat cynical doctor (Frank Craven, who observes of the mass hysteria: "Some of us held out;" a pouting cousin (Forrest Tucker), and an embittered caretaker (Howard Da Silva) who had been the hero's captain in World War I. Now, restricted physically by wounds he suffered, he has served the man he once commanded. He seems resentful of the man who saved his life in combat. The effect of unbridled hero worship on an impressioable young mind is captured in the caretaker's son (Darryl Hickman), convinced he is responsible for the death of his idol. His role becomes tedious, but is critical to the underlying psychology of the film. Like the peeling of an onion, the film reveals layer after layer of the people in the life of a giant, his relations with them, and the passions stirred by his presence ... and his causes. We see that it is wise to temper emotion with information in selecting our icons. While Tracy and Hepburn are quite good in their roles, it is the supporting cast which drives the film. Whorf, Da Silva and Craven are outstanding in key roles. The Bronislau Kaper score and excellent black and white cinematography preserve the quality of the drama and help it through its dated moments.

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