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The African Queen Film Review

Updated on July 19, 2019
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I am a film enthusiast and enjoy reviewing films I have watched. I like all sorts of films but mainly black & white ones from the '50s/'60s.

Katharine Hepburn
Rose Sayer
Humphrey Bogart
Charlie Allnutt
Robert Morley
Rev Samuel Sayer
Peter Bull
Captain of Luisa

About the film

Released: 1951

Director: John Huston

Producers: Sam Spielgel, John Woolf

Running time: 1 hr 45 mins

Genre: Drama, Adventure, Romance

Budget: $1,000,000

Distributed by: United Artists

About the film

Rose and her brother Reverend Sam are missionaries in a village called Kingolu in German East Africa. They get their supplies delivered to them from Charlie, who is the Captain of The African Queen. When WW1 breaks out, Rose and Sam decide to stay in the village. But the Germans birn down the village and Sam is beaten. He subsequently dies from a fever. Charlie helps Rose to bury him. After the death of her beloved brother, Rose and Charlie set sail on The African Queen. There is a reason for their journey though. Charlie mentions to Rose that the Germans have a gun boat called The Konigin Luise. Rose suggests that they turn The African Queen into a torpedo boat and sink The Konigin Luise, or Queen Luise in English. The Konigin Luise is patrolling a large lake, blocking any British attacks.

So, on their journey down the river to the lake, they face many obstacles along the way, including being shot at by the Germans, which shot at their boat which needed repairing. And also having to navigate the boat through 3 rapids and facing a swarm of insects.

My thoughts

With Rose and Charlie being the 2 main characters in this film, it can be difficult to make a movie with so few people in it, but this has worked well. Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart were mega stars of their time, and the pair worked well together. As we see their journey on The African Queen down the river, we see how the pair are forced to work together as a team. A team that becomes eventual lovers there is plenty of drama in this film to keep the viewer interested.

They say opposites attract, and this is indeed the case with these two. Rose, who is very religious and as we see at the start of the film, is helping her brother in the Church. Then there's Charlie who likes his drink and often wakes up with a hangover. So much so, he has a drink to cure it! There are some light hearted when Rose pours all his bottles of drink in the sea.

But, there are also plenty of dramatic scenes in the film, especially when they have to navigate the boat through 3 rapids in the river. This can have a major blow on The African Queen, but she manages to carry on sailing. Especially when they encounter the Germans firing guns at them which damages the boat. Robert Morley plays a short part in the film at the beginning, but think he played the part of the Reverend Samuel well.

This is a classic film. Although I've watched the film several times now, I still enjoy watching it. I love how Bogart and Hepburn work together, and they act well together onscreen. I've always been a big fan of these two. It's just a shame we don't see a little bit more of Robert Morley in the film, but the small part he did have was good.

Academy Awards
Humphrey Bogart - Best Actor in leading role
Katharine Hepburn - Best Actress in leading role
Academy Awards
John Huston - Best Director
Academy Awards
James Agee, John Huston - Best Writing, Screenplay
Best film from any source
Humphrey Bogart - Best foreign actor
Katharine Hepburn - Best foreign actress
National Film Preservation Board
National Film Registry
New York Film Critics Circle Awards
Best film
New York Film Critics Circle Awards
Katharine Hepburn - Best Actress
New York Film Critics Circle Awards
John Huston - Best Director
Online Film & Television Association
Motion Picture

© 2018 Louise Powles


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