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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Movie Review: "Keeper of the Flame" (1942)

So, dear readers, I'm thinking of making a change to my blogging schedule. Since last August, which is pretty much most of my blogging life, I've made the Sunday Movie Review a weekly series. Then it was different because I had plenty of time to blog throughout the week. But now, thanks to school, I don't get as often to blog about other things that are non reviews. Believe it or not, when I started this blog, the intention wasn't really to do reviews at all. I did that on my Netflix account and I was pleased with that. But then certain situations provoked me to start the SMR.

Now I'm thinking of slightly altering the Sunday Movie Review. Instead of doing it weekly, I'd do it bi-weekly; basically skipping every other week. What do you think of this, guys? Then I'd get more opportunities to write other posts of different varieties, catch up more on my Here's Looking At You Kid game (I did the first edition back in September or October; I want to get a second one up soon) as well as my What's My Line Wednesdays.

Sometimes I'm really in the mood to review a film, and other times, not so much. That's why I think this bi-weekly format would be better. 

I would really really appreciate it if you could leave me your comments below because I really want reader input! I'm leaning towards this now, I think it'll be easier on me and there will be more "fun stuff" for you all to read, and hey, there's no harm in giving it a try, right? Let me know. 

As for now, however, I do have a review for you!


The poster: I have to admit, I kinda like this modernized version better.

The plot:
While investigating the accidental death of revered war hero Robert Forrest, intrepid reporter Stevie O'Malley (Spencer Tracy) meets the man's wife (Katharine Hepburn) and learns a surprising truth about his subject's supposedly "patriotic" past. George Cukor directs this politically charged wartime thriller that marks Tracy and Hepburn's second onscreen partnership, just a year after their first pairing in the romantic comedy Woman of the Year. [from Netflix]

The starring players:
  • Katharine Hepburn as Christine Forest
  • Spencer Tracy as Stephen O'Malley
The verdict:

You might remember that for Christmas I got the wonderful Hepburn/Tracy Definitive Collection set, which contains all nine of their films and an additional tribute video to Spence by Kate. (It's a gorgeous collection, I really encourage you to get it.). There were two movies in this set that I hadn't seen, one was this and one was  The Sea of Grass (1947). The little pamphlet that came with the collection described this film as a politically driven drama, reminiscent of Citizen Kane. 

Well, that description made me a little nervous. I'll admit, I thought it would be a little boring, but I decided that I'd been watching it sooner or later, so why not?

Well... this film wasn't boring. A little talky at points, perhaps, but not really boring and it's entertaining enough to hold your attention, alas, it does waver at times. Honestly, I don't know what to make of this movie. It was all kind of peculiar, really, and then it became all together so predictable at once. Then, to top it off, it had a rather abrupt ending - quite a dramatic one - and it came to a close with a sharp message about anti-Fascist values.

This was the second Hepburn/Tracy pairing. As usual, I thought both Kate and Spence were very good; the things I didn't like about this movie wasn't them at all (I could never have anything against Kate and Spence, you know) - the plot was hard to follow, for one. It wasn't confuzzling yet somethings could use more of an explanation. One of the central characters is a Mr. Robert Forrest, a man we never meet, yet a very important character indeed. He is a "national hero" for unknown reasons, but appears to have been the greatest human being known to man, though we don't know WHY. This bugged me to no end.

The ending was so sudden and abrupt. Several things happened in just a few minutes, and this was strange for a movie that,  up until that point, had moved quietly slowly. By the end, you got the feeling that the Hepburn and Tracy characters were on the verge of becoming romantically involved, but a real romance never gets the opportunity to bloom. I think had there been a romance between their two characters, it would have made the film better, because honestly, who doesn't love seeing Tracy and Hepburn as a couple together?

The bottom line:
It's not one of the better Tracy/Hepburn films, but that's comparing it to movies like Adam's Rib (1949) and Woman of the Year (1942) - that being said, it's not a waste of time. Neither will it be one I'll be visiting over and over again. Over all, I'm neutral about this one!

Some photos:

Some trivia:
  • Van Johnson was driving to a special screening of this film when he got into a car accident that left him with a metal plate in his forehead. He later starred alongside Kate and Spence in State of the Union (1951).
  • Kate had to convince Louis B. Mayer into letting her make this film with Spence; he didn't think it would be a good follow up to Woman of the Year, which had been made earlier that year.
A movie tidbit:


So long for now! :)


StanwyckFan said...

Honestly, Rianna, I think doing a bi-weekly review is a great idea. Especially if you're feeling that you don't have time to say everything you want to and if you just don't feel in a reviewing mood from time to time. Great! I love everything you write, so... ;)

Dani said...

I agree. Whenever you do something just 'cause you have to, it's not gonna be as good as if you really wanted to do it. I love the blog and, if changing the schedule could make it better, I'm all for it.

Rianna said...

Thanks to both of you! I think I'm going to try making SMR bi-weekly now, and I'll have the opportunity to write more about other stuff! :)

KimWilson said...

The film came out in 1942, so it is a war movie with lots of propaganda. It was a warning to the American public that they should be aware of hero-worship (see Hitler and Mussolini) and that they should be ever vigilant in looking for spies at home. Not the best Hepburn/Tracy film, but a good example of the types of WWII-era pictures that Hollywood produced.

Rianna said...

I agree with you, it's definitely a propaganda film and a good example of the films Hollywood was trying to cycle out at the time. However, I'm still not a big fan of this one!

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