The African Queen (1951)

Starring: Katharine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, Robert Morley

Directed by: John Huston

UR. 105 mins

A clever and sweeping love affair between Hepburn and Bogart that is a force of nature equal to the East African landscape that surrounds them. Adapted from C.S. Forester’s novel, Bogart stars as Charlie Allnut, the gin-guzzling captain of a tramp steamer known as The African Queen. The time is WWI and Charlie’s steamer transports supplies to small villages all over East Africa. Meanwhile, Rose Sayer (Katharine Hepburn) and her missionary brother are busy spreading the word of God to local children and living quite a privileged life until the Germans invade and her reverend brother. Charlie offers to take Rose back home and though they battle like oil and water at first, they soon grow to love each other and even devise a plan to destroy a German gunboat. Filmed on location on Africa, there have been many books written about all the obstacles the cast and crew encountered while making the film. There is something so warm about this film and it’s just a pleasure to watch. The chemistry between Hepburn and Bogart is beautiful to watch and the script maintains humour and adventure throughout. In The African Queen, everything flows so naturally and the romance here is just so much more engrossing than most odd-couple pairings these days. With great restoration, this old gem looks as good as new – * * * *


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