An oddity in the series of films Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn made together, Keeper of the Flame is not a romantic comedy filled with sparkling repartee as the two leads spar with each other on their way to an inevitable clinch and thus may disappoint those looking for another Adam's Rib or Pat and Mike. It also must be admitted that Flame is a bit heavy-handed and propagandistic, especially to modern viewers. That said, there's still magic in the pairing of the two stars and it's fun to see them in something so different, something that might be called a semi-Gothic politico-mystery. If that seems like an odd jumbling of genres, it is, and it's one of the reasons Flame doesn't totally satisfy. The political propaganda is at war with the mystery aspect, and the Gothic trappings don't sit as comfortably as one might wish. That said, director George Cukor does a marvelous job of building tension and suspense for as long as the script allows; he would have done an even better job if the screenplay didn't give the audience a "spoiler" too early in the proceedings, so that the viewer knows the big secret much earlier than Spencer Tracy's reporter. The stars are in good form, and the supporting cast is worthy.
by Craig Butler review