Katharine Hepburn gives one of her most nuanced performances in this offbeat Gothic drama. This mysterious film creates a dark, brooding atmosphere with a visual style well suited to a story about concealing the truth. KEEPER OF THE FLAME was the first film in which George Cukor directed the dynamic duo of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. Tracy plays top-notch reporter Stephen O'Malley, who travels to a small town to investigate the accidental death of national hero Robert V. Forrest, a World War I veteran. Forrest's widow, Christine (Hepburn), has become a recluse, and O'Malley also faces a lack of cooperation from the dead men's friends and relatives. It turns out they are covering up the truth of Forrest's political views, which are revealed to be less than patriotic. Released in the midst of World War II, the film was an attack on the radical right and was used as evidence against screenwriter Donald Ogden Stewart when he was blacklisted in 1951.
Ace reporter Stephen O'Malley (Spencer Tracy) travels to a small town to investigate the death of a national war hero in this dark, brooding mystery; but the widow (Katharine Hepburn) is withdrawn and the neighbors also seem to be withholding information in this edgy, political drama that made waves upon its release during World War II.
Theatrical release: December 1, 1942.
Screenwriter Donald Ogden Stewart called the film "the picture I was proudest of doing" because of its antifascist message; the screenplay was used as evidence against him when he was blacklisted in 1951.
During the shoot both stars reputedly expressed misgivings about the political implications of a script they viewed as just a thriller.
Apparently, Louis B. Mayer, who hadn't seen the film until it screened at Radio City Music Hall, got up and walked out.