Katharine HepburnKeeper of the Flame

Following the great success of Woman of the Year, Katharine Hepburn's second teaming with Spencer Tracy was in the dark and convoluted Keeper of the Flame (1943). Despite the presence of these two charismatic legends, Keeper is a rather lackluster film, lovely to look at yet too heavyhanded to inspire any real involvement.

Tracy plays reporter Stephen O'Malley, assigned to cover the story of a nationally worshipped political figure who has died in an automobile accident.  O'Malley is thwarted in his task by the hero's widow, Christine Forrest, (Hepburn) and her strange crew of hangers-on: the surly cousin (Forrest Tucker), the personal secretary (Richard Whorf), even the gatekeeper (Howard da Silva), all are unnecessarily uncooperative.  It turns out that the beloved Mr. Forrest was not what he appeared to be, and his widow and her entourage are determined to keep the truth about him a secret.

Keeper is a murky melodrama, but the crisp professionalism of Tracy and Hepburn in their prime make it worth seeing; the film is a good example of star personas rising above their material by sheer presence.

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