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Keeper Of The Flame [1942]

Spencer Tracy , Katharine Hepburn , George Cukor    Universal, suitable for all   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 9.48 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Keeper Of The Flame [1942] + Pat And Mike (DVD) [1952] + Woman Of The Year [1942]
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Product details

  • Actors: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Richard Whorf, Margaret Wycherly, Forrest Tucker
  • Directors: George Cukor
  • Producers: Victor Saville
  • Format: PAL, Black & White, Full Screen, Mono
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ME0GQM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,533 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


SYNOPSIS: A determined reporter. A grieving widow. A heart-pounding tale of suspense - Top-notch reporter Steven O'Malley (Spencer Tracy) has come to a small town to investigate the death of Robert Forrest, a national hero. He's determined to get a story, but when he meets and falls in love with Forrest's sidow Christine (Katharine Hepburn), the story he gets is not the one expected. As O'Malley digs into Forrest's personal life, he soon finds that the man who dined with presidents may have been involved in a plot to overthrow the governement. Fallin in love with Christine makes it hard for O'Malley to be objective, but soon he suspects the beautiful widow was a part of the plot. Caught tight in a web of suspense and treachery, O'Malley is forced with the decision whether or not to expose Christine. When he confronts her with the evidence, she refuses to speak out in her own defence. Now O'Malley doesn't know if his lover is guilty or innocent. But one thing is for certain: someone is going to try and stop him fromever finding out. ABOUT THE DVD: This is a release by WARNER HOME VIDEO for the UK market (Region 2 PAL format - which will play on all standard DVD players in the UK and the rest of Europe - buyers outside of Europe will need a multi-region player in order to view it) - The film is presented in it original BLACK & WHITE and FULL SCREEN format (1.33:1 aspect ratio) and runs for a total of 97 minutes - the AUDIO is the original ENGLISH language and MONO - SUBTITLES are in English language only.

Customer Reviews

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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strange, but interesting. 15 Feb 2007
This surely is a strange movie. It is made just as the US was on the verge of entering WW2, and it is about the possibility of fascism in the US, hiding under American patriotism. It is a thriller, and as such very exciting, even if the ending is a bit over the top. It is made by gay, jewish liberal director George Cukor with his favourite actors, and best friends, Tracy and Hepburn, in the leads. It is indeed a very political film, and although I am aware of Hollywood making lots of films about these matters during the war years, surely the most liberal period in classical Hollywood, I cannot think of another film from that time that so clearly states that extreme right wing ideas are possible even within what clearly is American establishment. I have just read that this movie was used against its script writer during the blacklist period as a prove of his "communism".

It is not a perfect movie. But it is an interesting one, and ought to be much better known. It must have been highly controversial at the time, and in a sad way, it still is, as it points out how dangerous ideas and movements can hide under what seems to be positive covers.

The DVD is not quite up to standard. It has not been restored, and has the quality of a good video, nothing more or less. However, its quite watchable, the sound is Ok, and it has English subtitles. I cannot understand why it is offered only from a third party seller, but the seller I chose was more than excellent. The DVD arrived in Oslo just two - 2- days after the order was placed.

I do really recommend theis movie in spite of its faults, both because it is such a rare one, because there is a real mystery going on in it, and because of the good actors.
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5.0 out of 5 stars really great old black and white. 7 July 2014
I love this film, its one to watch on a cold winter evening. I saw it years ago with my dad and I still love watching it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and subversive fun 5 Feb 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A real noir thriller and most un-hollywood like, Spencer Tracy is an investigative writer on the case of the death of a true american hero, but his widow (Hepburn - amazing as usual) is wrapped in mystery and secrets, perfect entertainment for a rainy afternoon.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The first Tracy/Hepburn film 22 Aug 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Although not a comedy, it is extremely well-made by George Cukor, who was a friend of both of the stars. And it shows. This is a striking drama, well worth seeing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  35 reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing mystery with an ending no one could have expected 28 Dec 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Steven O'Malley, who is a reporter played by Spencer Tracy, comes to a small town to find the truth behind a hero of the town whose name is Robert Forrest. This great hero has just died and Steven O'Malley begins to feel this great man was not all he appeared to be. He finds it hard to reach Forrest's widow Christine who he wants to interview. The widow is played by Katharine Hepburn who gives a superb performance. O'Malley finds himself falling in love with the widow. He also finds that no one close to Forrest wants him to find out the truth about this great hero. You will find yourself wanting to discover the truth. It is filled with suspense, romance, and mystery and is a must-see!!
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tracy-Hepburn vehicle warns of the Fascist threat at home 28 Oct 2000
By Lawrance M. Bernabo - Published on
This is an interesting choice for the second Tracy-Hepburn picture, following the success of "Woman of the Year," but then all of the films Katharine Hepburn made during World War II were interesting choices. In "Stage Door Canteen," while other stars performed, Hepburn shared in the film's main dramatic scene and in "Dragon Seed" she played a Chinese peasant girl. However, "Keeper of the Flame" is clearly Spencer Tracy's film. He plays Steven O'Malley, a famous correspondent who has returned from Europe to cover the death an American national hero, Robert V. Forrest. Hepburn plays the reclusive widow, a role that eerily foreshadows Jacqueline Kennedy in some regards, whom O'Malley comes to suspect of having murdered her husband. However, to his surprise, O'Malley discovers that Forrest's supernationalism was merely a facade for fascism. There is more going on here than meets the eye. Based an "unwritten" novel by I. A. R. Wylie and scripted by Donald Odgen Stewart, the choice of George Cukor to direct the film is quite surprising. Cukor and cinematographer William Daniels do their best to create a Hitchcock-type film, but the overall effect is a pale imitation at best. Hepburn seems ill-suited to the role of the widow with a secret, although certainly her political sensibilities would support the point of the film. Tracy is a bit subdued, no doubt because of the conflict between his feelings for Christine Forrest and his desire to uncover the truth no matter what the cost, but this is still a solid performance from one of the greatest film actors.
Overall the fascist threat seems too muted in this film. Darryl Hickman as the young Jeb Rickards, who had belonged to Forrest's youth organization (which looks less like the Boy Scouts and more like the Hitler Youth as the movie progresses), is the true emotional heart of the film. Yet in the end you feel more that he was mislead than actually endangered by his membership. The idea that fascism could succeed in America only as a third front sort of thing is dangerously misleading, as demagogues like Huey P. Long were in the process of proving. The nation surely could have used a solid anti-fascist film from Hollywood, but "Keeper of the Flame" was ultimately too shallow an effort. At the end you might understand that Robert V. Forrest was a fascist, but you really have no idea what that means beyond the fact that it is a very bad thing.
This is arguably the weakest Tracy-Hepburn film and was certainly not the formula followed in their more successful efforts. Given the subject matter the romantic elements between the two is sadly misplaced, getting in the way of the film's message as much as the reporter's investigation. Hepburn would be served a little better by her next foray into the suspense genre four years later in "Undercurrent."
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most serious, intriguing Tracy / Hepburn film. 16 May 2005
By R. Christenson / Lunamation - Published on
One of my favorite Spencer Tracy movies, Keeper of the Flame is probably the most serious of all the films teaming Tracy with Katherine Hepburn, perhaps the only one that might fit the "noir" class. Mystery surrounds the death of national hero Robert Forrest. Reporter Steve O'Malley (Tracy) wants to do a biography of the late statesman, but the closer he tries to get to the family on their huge estate (sort of a gothic version of the Kennedy Compound), the more it seems Forrest's widow (Hepburn) and secretary are trying to hide something. Tracy begins to suspect their foul involvement in the hero's supposed accidental death. In addition to the great Tracy and Hepburn and an intrigueing story, there are fine performances from the supporting cast which includes a young Forrest Tucker (The Ghost Busters a.k.a. Spencer, Tracy, and Kong), Darryl Hickman (Fighting Father Dunn), Howard da Silva (1776), Percy Kilbride (Pa Kettle), and others.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prescient politics with Tracy and Hepburn 27 Jun 2011
By Stephen Ash - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I've waited years for this prescient 1942 film to finally appear on DVD after watching it only on Turner Classic Movies, despite the presence of legendary stars Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. Donald Ogden Stewart's screenplay from the I.A.H. Wylie novel foreshadowed the healthy skepticism needed in these contentious times about supposedly grassroots political movements that hide an agenda unknown to those involved in promoting that movement.
In "Keeper of the Flame"'s opening, we see a car taking a flying leap from a bridge that has been washed out. As we learn from the following montage, the crash killed incredibly wealthy Robert Forrest, who has become, through his self-sponsored "America Forward!" movement, one of the USA's most beloved political figures since Lincoln, though he's never held political office. The world's press has descended on Forrest's hometown to write tributes to The Great Man and interview his widow Christine (Hepburn), who remains unavailable however.
Be forewarned, what follows is not your typical Tracy/Hepburn "Woman of the Year" or "Adam's Rib" romp, which might explain its tardy appearance on disc. Director George Cukor created no real romantic or comic banter between Hepburn's not-so-merry widow and Tracy's investigative reporter Steve O"Malley, although Tracy's fellow reporter Jane Harding, played by a delightfully sardonic Audrey Christie, fills that bill quite nicely. Rather, Cukor spends a great deal of time building suspense around Tracy's subtle peeling back the facade of Forrest's deception in his talks with Hepburn, who agrees to speak with Tracy through the duplicitous encouragement of Forrest's unctuous assistant, slimily played by the dead-on casting of Richard Whorf. The truth does finally comes out at the mansion's Arsenal, where (spoiler alert), it's revealed in hidden documents and money that Forrest was really planning on becoming America's own Nazi Fuehrer. "They didn't call it fascism, of course," says Christine, but "wrapped it up in red, white and blue and called it Americanism." It is this scene alone, with its revelation "...of the utter cynicism of the plan. Each group was to be used and then discarded when their usefulness was ended." that makes the purchase of this DVD essential for anyone who still needs to be reminded in the 21st century that Gadsden Don't Tread On Me flags, tri-corner hats and muskets do not necessarily a patriot make, and the present day media's uncovering of secret corporate and billionaire sponsorship of "astroturf" organizations is still essential.Keeper of the Flame
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Political Drama 8 April 2006
By Lidash63 - Published on
Verified Purchase
Very different from other Tracy/Hepburn films, both in style and substance. I have viewed this multiple times and thoroughly enjoy it. Strong political theme has kept this from being one of the top films of the era.
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