Keeper of the Flame - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Keeper of the Flame Reviews

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October 3, 2014
a poorly constructed, heavy handed, absurd melodrama, but Spencer Tracy does his best to try and save it.
Super Reviewer
½ April 11, 2014
The last chapter was unexpected. Refreshing not to always know an ending before it gets there.
October 31, 2012
Rather dull Tracy/Hepburn drama about reporter Tracy writing a story about a recently deceased rich and powerful man. Hepburn plays the rich man's widow. It's a well mounted production, directed by George Cukor, and has more than a few echoes of "Citizen Kane" but it's nowhere in the same league. It's an alright film, but I would have expected more considering the talent involved.
October 21, 2012
kinda like citizen kane
October 12, 2012
This is probably one of the most underrated suspense/thrillers ever, as well as being one of Katharine Hepurn's and Spencer Tracy's most underrated films. The story is engaging, the acting is superb, and there are many twists and turns to be analyzed, as well as important themes that are still relevant to this day. I was on the edge of my seat and engaged from beginning to end, and this film also blew me away during its twists and turns. I will never forget a line near the end of the film, "I destroyed the man to protect to the image." This film is an important statement that some of our greatest heroes are our worst enemies. See this film.
Super Reviewer
½ September 26, 2012
An intense, yet also extremely heavy-handed political drama. It leads on like a film noir with the writer played by Tracy as the detective, trying to figure out a mystery about the famous Mr. Forrest, and then becomes something very outrageous in the end. I enjoyed it, but it is a little too unbelievable, if you see it you know what I mean. Overall it is pretty good, though.
July 17, 2012
"keeper of the flame" may not be the most plausable film, as it seems the "big secret" wouldn't have been kept under wraps for so long. it would have gotten out there long before forrest was killed. however, it's written in a way that you'll ignore the huge hole in the story, and topped with charmingly delightful performances from katharine hepburn and spencer tracey.
½ January 2, 2012
American Fascism Must Hide Behind Democracy

I'm not sure the [i]Citizen Kane[/i] comparisons are quite fair. And I don't just mean because I don't think it's fair to compare much of anything to [i]Citizen Kane[/i]. I'm thinking more along the lines of how the story doesn't even line up with [i]Kane[/i] as well as does the one of that one Mexican wrestling movie I watched. There are a few similarities, and we'll get into those in a minute, but there are more differences. The issue seems to be a similarity of plot structure and a character who gets into politics for reasons other than the best interests of his fellow citizens. And let's face it, there are plenty of stories about that which don't have much to do with [i]Kane[/i]. And given how badly [i]Kane[/i] did in its initial release, I'm not sure any studio would risk copying it so soon. As it was, the movie was uncommercial enough, even given it was the early days of World War I.

War hero Robert Forrest has died in an accident, having driven off a bridge which went out in a storm. His wife, Christine (Katharine Hepburn), is refusing to talk to reporters and has shut herself up in the family estate. Steven O'Malley (Spencer Tracy), who has been reporting on the war in Europe, comes back to the US with the plan of writing about the "true" Robert Forrest. The hero of millions. And this isn't intended to be some kind of hatchet job; he sees Forrest as having been a great man who was what the country needed in a time of crisis, and he wants to immortalize that man as war sweeps the world. Only when he finally gets in to see Christine, thanks to Charming Urchin Jeb Rickards (Darryl Hickman), he discovers that there is something going on which the public knew nothing about. There was more to Robert Forrest than the hero of the Ardennes and inspiration to youth everywhere. For one thing, it turns out his mother (Margaret Wycherly) was secretly alive and living on the property.

So here's where it's like [i]Kane[/i]. Robert Forrest, a complicated man of uncertain past, is dead. A reporter tries to piece together his life by talking to those who knew him. And . . . that's pretty much it. For one thing, O'Malley isn't much interested in Forrest's childhood. He's really only trying to piece together one night. He talks to fewer people, and the people he talks to have more interest in keeping what they know secret. It isn't even just that they're trying to preserve his image; most of the people here are trying to preserve his [i]secret[/i]. And while Charles Foster Kane had secrets, he had secrets that he was trying to keep from everyone. Robert Forrest had an inner circle who knew the truth, and from the outset, they put up a united front against Stevie O'Malley. There were those devoted to Charles Foster Kane, but they didn't know the real man any more than anyone else did--and didn't much like each other, either.

What's more, that unfair comparison only serves to take away from the real blessings of this movie. As it was made, the United States was just beginning a horrible war with an enemy as much philosophical as martial. It was a war many in the country had spent years trying to avoid--and not in the way that those campaigning for peace did but by simply trying to prevent the United States from entering. After all, people in Europe and Asia had already been at war for some time. And one of the things American propaganda would begin to teach, and had even before Pearl Harbor, was the differences between Us and Them. Robert Forrest's dark secret was one that was shared by many Americans, and it is important to US history that the people begin to see that women like Christine Forrest--brave and strong, loving and patriotic--could choose their country when they thought they were betrayed by a man whose values and beliefs were antithetical to what he'd said he stood for. She is American Womanhood, and she's Anti-Fascist.

She is, however, not entirely suited toward being played by Katharine Hepburn, and that was the problem with wartime movies. With actors, you took what you could get. It's arguably true that, had John Wayne actually gone to war instead of just acting in war movies, he might not have a career left when he came back. But the big-name stars were all off overseas, and John Wayne, among others, filled the gaps. Scripts were mostly about the war or else intended to take people's minds off the war. And Spencer Tracy did do a good job in playing the serious investigative reporter, a man who's seen war and knows what the dark side of it looks like. He's believable as a man who sees the US as a shining beacon against fascism. And so forth. And it's true that he was great with Hepburn. We just today picked up the complete set of the movies they made together, and while some, like this one, will be new adventures, others will be old friends. But this is definitely not the best of the lot, because it's forced into a shape the Tracy/Hepburn relationship just didn't fit.
½ December 14, 2011
If you can make it through a 1942 flick, even with Kat Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, it must be okay. This one wasn't bad until the ending, and I actually didn't make it through, turning it off just minutes short of the close because I just didn't care at that point.

There are some valid points in the movie. Tracy is a war correspondent who returns home and is about to write the story about a "super patriot" who has recently died. To do this, he must befriend the man's wife, played by Hepburn. Yadda, yadda, a little twist here and there, and oh no! She let him die. But only because the man was abusing his power, using money and the press to start a variety of scuttles amongst the little guys. That shit actually goes on today, and Tracy, at one point, talks about how little it takes to persuade the public of someone's good or bad.

The humorous points to me are the 1942 crap. The soft focus used in that era gets me every time as it's just blatantly ridiculous. Second, the writing is more about the writing than the acting. I can just imagine the writer getting off on the lines, but the actors deliver them so casually at times that it's just clearly written dialogue in which no two people would ever engage. Third, the shoulder pads. Hepburn was sexy at times, as were other women. But not when their outfits made them look like mid 1980s football players. Finally, imagine seeing this in the theater in 1942. Would you leave excited over the twists and turns? Or was that bit lame even then? Who knows. They certainly had seen the bag of twists and turns that movie watchers today have already seen a thousand times.
August 18, 2011
One of the best Hep/Tracy pairings! Reporter Steve O'Malley (Tracy) is sent to the wife (Hepburn) of a accidentally killed war hero. Once there, she gives him some information about her husband that is very shocking to everyone. I have been waiting forever for this movie to come on this website. I have owned it for many years and have been dying to write a review for it. Luckily, I'm the first here, and luckily, this is a positive review. This was made right after the very successful pair up of Hepburn and Tracy "Woman of the Year". Though this isn't as good as the other, this one is definitely worth watching. This is a beautiful gothic tale that is very different from any movies I have ever seen from these two. George Cukor does a great job directing. I was surprised, because he is usually known as being the women's director because he was a) gay and b) the guy who gave Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, and yes, Katharine Hepburn huge roles. However, Spencer has the bigger, better part that I was glad to see-- he is one of my favorite actors and though he is not too memorable in this role, he makes the most of it. This movie really does fall under the genre of film noir, which is something that any fan of the genre would love to hear. Hepburn made very few crime movies, so I found it very exciting to see her here. A fact for the other people interested in this movie-- this is not by any means a romantic movie, so don't expect a lot of spice coming from Hepburn and Tracy-- just look forward to terrific acting. "Keeper of the Flame" might not be the best movie coming from these two together ("Adam's Rib" is still the gold), but is a great watch that has finally come to DVD.
½ August 20, 2010
Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in their second movie, a suspense thriller directed by George Cukor- a little slow, but a challenge met with great tact and dramatic force of Hollywood's greatest couple. Hepburn plays a widow of an American legend who dies in a car crash on a stormy night, Tracy plays a biographer looking for the real honest story about him, only to discover that he wasn't what he seemed- a legend whose image was a front for fascism, I am not revealing the details, but it is worth discovering. I think this film says an important message relevant to our political climate ( and it isn't about our president). It's a shame that this movie is overlooked in the era of Alfred Hitchcock, but it is worth watching.
June 17, 2010
Good suspense movie for the the lovers of all movies B&W. Not sure, until the end, who the good guys are. Got hooked on this one through TCM. I give it 4 stars. Worth renting.
½ February 2, 2010
An attempt at anti-fascism as art, the sentiments of this film are good but unfortunately as entertainment it's quite dull. Spencer Tracy is decent as the journalist investigating the death of a national hero, but Katharine Hepburn struggles in the poorly-written role of the hero's widow. The film looks very good for its time and the message is timeless, but it's put across in a very heavy-handed way and the film hasn't aged too well.
½ April 13, 2009
Pues es mejor de lo que parecia. En apenas 90 minutos se intercala una historia bien contada, bien interpretada (con la magica pareja y un puñado de buenos secundarios), bien llevada (que no es poco) y con dosis de cine politico, suspense, drama y amor. Se ve con gusto, teniendo en cuenta que la historia es complicada de creer. Pero quitando eso, hasta me ha recordado en muchas escenas a Rebecca...
jjnxn
Super Reviewer
November 22, 2008
Somewhat weird downbeat drama, definitely an oddity from Tracy/Hepburn. But still worth a viewing.
½ September 6, 2008
I have to admit I was slightly confused at the film. Was the man who died, a national hero, actually a secret fascist? His death was plotted so the world could be saved, but the lie to the world that he was a hero is propagated? Regardless, Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn were great.
½ July 31, 2008
The plot is so timely it deserves a re-make - though there aren't any modern film actors as good as Tracy and Hepburn
May 17, 2008
A fantastic film. This was only the second film with the great Hepburn and Tracy together. George Cukor's direction was flawless, he was albe to create mystery and intrege with lighting and camera angles. The story was amazing, it is a truly powerful film.
½ May 17, 2007
This movie got me with its spectacular opening of a car crashing. Looking deeper into it, it is a Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy partnership definitely on darker side of things as it evolves around the dead politician, who was hero in the public mind, but had a sinister leaning towards fascism, that lead to his early death. The discovery of this basically makes up the film, with Hepburn as grieving widow and Tracy as the reporter trying to uncover, what is first only a gut feeling. This whole thing is rather dark, with people rejecting to talk openly or trying to put away the truth. An interesting look on American susceptiveness towards totalitarian, if it is only dressed up as the "good American".
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