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Steven O'Malley
Christine Forrester
Clive Kerndon
Mrs. Forrest
Mr. Arbuthnot
Freddie Ridges
Jane Harding
Dr. Fielding
Geoffrey Midford
Jason Richards
Jeb Richards
Messenger Boy


Boy Reporter

Minister's Voice


Associate Producer
Screenplay by
Based on a novel by
Director of Photography
Art Direction by
Associate Art Director
Set Decorator
Associate Set Decorator
Film Editing by
Sound Recordist
Musical Score
Costume Design by
Makeup Artist
Special Effects
Assistant Director

Spencer Tracy
Katharine Hepburn
Richard Whorf
Margaret Wycherly
Donald Meek
Horace (Stephen) McNally
Audry Christie
Frank Craven
Forrest Tucker
Percy Kilbride
Howard Da Silva
Darryl Hickman
William Newell
Rex Evans
Blanche Yurka
Mary McLeod
Clifford Brooke
Craufurd Kent
Mickey Martin
Marnart Kippen,
Donald Gallaher,
Cliff Danielson
Major Sam Harris,
Art Howard,
Harold Miller
Jay Ward
Rita Quigley
Dick Elliot
Edward McWade
Irvin Lee
Diana Dill (Douglas),
Gloria Tucker
Dr. Charles Frederick Lindsley
Robert Pittard
Louis Mason


George Cukor
Victor Saville
Leon Gordon
Donald Ogden Stewart
I.A.R. Wylie
William Daniels
Cedric Gibbons
Lyle Wheeler
Edwin B. Willis
Jack Moore
James E. Newcom
Douglas Shearer
Bronislau Kaper
Jack Dawn
Warren Newcombe
Edward Woehler


Film data

100 minutes
Reels: 10
Produced: July 14-September 21, 1942
and additional scenes in October 1942

Premiere: December 1942


Steven O'Malley, a noted correspondent just back from Europe, is sent by his newspaper to write a story on the death of Robert V. Forrest, an American hero. Christine Forrest, the widow, is unapproachable and the dead man's secretary, Clive Kerndon, bevies suspiciously. O'Malley overhears a conversation between Christine and Jeb Richards, the son of the gateman, which convinces him she played a part in her husband's murder. He accuses her of having killed her husband and says he must write his story despite his love for her.


Critics' reviews

Time - 1942
"Keeper of the Flame is an expensive testimonial to Hollywood's inability to face a significant theme, i.e. that Fascism might offer itself to the U.S. behind a handsome and disarming face.... For stars Hepburn and Tracy and all concerned, it is the high point of a significant failure."

Jonathan Rosenbaum - Chicago Reader
"The Flame that Katharine Hepburn keeps is for the memory of her late husband, a millionaire industrialist-politician whom reporter Spencer Tracy is trying to debunk. In spite of the chemistry ? Hepburn, Tracy, and George Cukor ? this is a curiously flat melodrama that redeems itself only from moment to moment."

Tom Milne - Time Out
"Bizarre political melodrama which has its eye firmly glued on Citizen Kane as Tracy's reporter arrives at another Xanadu, gleans another mess of information for his biography of a Great American Citizen who has dies in mysterious circumstances, and learns - having fallen for the widow (Hepburn) whose reticence he misinterprets - that his hero had feet of Fascist clay. It works well if rather stiffly for a while, with excellent performances (Wycherly and Da Silva are outstanding), but blows up into absurd histrionics and na?ve propaganda."

What Kate had to say

In treatment

What fellow actors, the director and friends had to say

George Cukor
"It was Kate's last romantic glamour-girl part, and she acted with some of that artificiality she'd supposedly left behind at RKO. That first scene, floating into a room in - yards and yards of white draperies with these lilies - well, it was all far, far to much. I don't think I really believe in the story, it was pure hokeypokey, and her part was phony, highfalutin. She tried to make something of her haughty lines - 'I had visioned', and so on. But it was very much a Christopher Strong performance; she was always coming on in something glittering in that one and delivering long theatrical speeches, and now she was doing it again. I didn't like the 'glamour' side of Kate; I loved the fresh, natural Kate, when she forgot to be movie queen. The subject brought out the movie queen in her, and that wasn't good. And we should have done the picture on location. We did it on the sound stage, fir forests, mansions. Lodges in the grounds, mysterious gates. Everyone looked like a waxwork in Madame Tussaud's."

George Cukor - Interview with Gavin Lambert - 1970
"I thought this picture opened in a most interesting way, with a lot of visual detail. And yet it wasn?t very satisfactory as a whole. I don't know why. It was really very well done. But I suspect the story was basically fraudulent."

George Cukor - Interview with Gavin Lambert - 1970
"I think she [Hepburn] finally carried a slightly phony part because her humanity asserted itself, and her humour. They always did. At the start her career could have gone one way or the other. After A Bill of Divorcement she made something called Christopher Strong and wore tight, glittering dresses. Then she did Little Women, dropping the glamour girl thing and showing the touching idealistic side of herself. It's fascination to watch what happens to people."

Donald Ogden Stewart
"It's an anti-fascist picture at a time nobody knew very much about fascism, It was of great concern to Kate, with her left-wing ideals - later on in the forties, she spoke up for Henry Wallace for president, and he certainly wasn't what you might call the people's choice."

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