Watch Keeper of the Flame
- 1 hr 40 min
In 1942, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn teamed up in Keeper of the Flame, a mystery drama about a powerful figure's death and the secrets his closest associates try to keep hidden. The film focuses on the character Steven O'Malley (Spencer Tracy), a reporter who gets involved in a case about the untimely demise of a war hero and respected philanthropist, Robert Forrest.
As O'Malley delves deeper into the story, he realizes that Forrest's widow, Christine Forrest (Katharine Hepburn), seems to be hiding something. The couple had been married for a short period before Robert passed away, and Christine withdraws from society soon after his death. O'Malley starts investigating the Forrest home, and he discovers that Christine has made her house a shrine to her late husband. To make matters more complicated, O'Malley also suspects that a group of men may have been involved in Robert's death, and that Christine may be the key to uncovering the truth.
Hepburn's character stands out as the heart of the story, with a much more complex and layered role than the superficially beautiful and passive characters that were typical of the era. Christine Forrest is grieving, but not necessarily in the way one might expect. When she first appears on screen, it is in darkness, and her first line of dialogue is a harsh rebuke to Robert's former colleague. It's clear from her body language and her tone that she's carrying a huge weight, and that she's not quick to trust anyone.
The tension between Christine and O'Malley is palpable, and it gives the movie a unique dynamic. Tracy's character doesn't seem to be able to get a straight answer out of Christine, and neither can the audience. Hepburn's ability to give a layered, nuanced performance makes her a standout in the film, and she creates one of her most memorable characters.
Throughout the story, O'Malley starts getting closer to the truth, and his investigation reveals some dark secrets that the people around the Forrests would rather leave buried. The deeper he gets, the less he trusts Christine, and the more he sees she's hiding. But as much as he wants to solve the mystery, he also wants to help Christine deal with the trauma of what happened.
Richard Whorf plays the role of Forrest's former colleague and friend, who has become a prominent politician since Robert's death. His character delivers some of the film's most significant lines of dialogue, as he laments the death of his former friend but manages to suggest that Robert himself might have turned out to be an autocrat.
As O'Malley continues his investigation, there are thrilling moments that build suspense, but the film is more focused on the human connections and emotional impact of the situation. Director George Cukor ensures that the performances are the heart of the movie, and they all deliver, making the film a captivating watch.
The film takes a critical look at the dangers of hero-worship, drawing attention to the idea that the myth of the great man can often shield terrible secrets. This is a heavy theme for a film made during World War II, when propaganda and iconography were used to build support for politicians and armies.
Overall, Keeper of the Flame is a well-crafted mystery, with strong performances from the film's principals. It's a film that's surprisingly relevant today, given our current obsession with celebrity and public figures, and our tendency to turn a blind eye to the wrongdoing of those in power. It's clear that this film was ahead of its time, using a mystery to explore political themes and the dangers of blind admiration. It's a gem of the early 1940s that still resonates today.
Keeper of the Flame is a 1943 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 40 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.7 and a MetaScore of 61.