HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Unearth
Circumstantial Pleasures
Tyger Tyger
Filmmaker's House, The
Man Standing Next, The
Rock, Paper and Scissors
Batman: The Long Halloween Part One
Salaam Bombay!
Boss Level
My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To
Edge of the World
PTU
Superdeep
Insignificance
Treasure City
Piccadilly
Parallel
Invasión
Shiva Baby
Flowers of Shanghai
War and Peace
Agony
Merrily We Go to Hell
Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)
Amusement Park, The
Lemebel
Hands of Orlac, The
Cats
Death has Blue Eyes
Caveat
Kala Azar
Duplicate
Flashback
Gunda
After Love
Earwig and the Witch
Zebra Girl
Skull: The Mask
Vanquish
Bank Job
   
 
Newest Articles
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
   
 
  African Queen, The Opposites Attract
Year: 1951
Director: John Huston
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, Robert Morley, Peter Bull, Theodore Bikel, Walter Gotell, Peter Swanwick, Richard Marner
Genre: Comedy, Romance, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: The Belgian Congo, 1914, and as The Great War has broken out in Europe, the colonial forces around the world are grouping for combat, even in Africa, thousands of miles away from the heart of the conflict. Two British brother and sister missionaries, Samuel (Robert Morley) and Rose (Katharine Hepburn) Sayer, have been living in splendid isolation in a small village remote from the outside world, lucky that the locals are quite happy to tolerate them, and getting their supplies and mail from the rivermen like the Canadian Charlie Allnutt (Humphrey Bogart) who sail the waterways. But the Germans are about to give them all a rude awakening into the brutalities of war...

The African Queen, named after Charlie's primitive steamboat, began life as a C.S. Forester novel, one of a number the bestselling author penned drawing on his extensive general knowledge to craft a vivid picture of places and situations he had never been within any great distance of himself - it was kind of his thing. Hugely popular in his day, naturally his works were turned into films, and while he would be best known for his marine-based Hornblower character, it is this effort that made for his most endearing adaptation, a firm favourite of movie buffs from its first appearance back in the early nineteen-fifties, and famously snaring the perennially popular Bogart his only Oscar.

No wonder, as when you see him here, he is at his most loveable and charismatic, one of the true rough diamonds of the cinema, but it takes two to tango, and this was in the main a two-hander, the other star being Hepburn. If Bogart liked anything more than his whisky, it was to grumble, and he had a field day on this film (he once complained of Hepburn, "She talks at you as if you were a microphone") for director John Huston decided against shooting it all in a studio or on less exotic locations and took his cast and crew, lock, stock and barrel to Central Africa, supposedly for the authenticity Forester strove for in his writing, but also because he fancied big game hunting.

Stories vary as to how successful Huston was at this, but apparently he regretted the attempt eventually, not least because the African climate was conducive to all sorts of maladies that everyone around him fell prey to. Hepburn, who loved the Continent, wrote her own entertaining book on the making, painting an indelible picture of the personalities that clashed during the production as well as exactly what she found so captivating about the place, but in her curious mix of the prim and the sardonic, she did share why everyone except Huston and Bogart came down with dysentery: it was because the boat they were all staying on was using the lake water their sewage was running into for drinking. The director and her co-star remained immune because all they drank was whisky.

That making of is such a terrific story in itself (spawning one movie, Clint Eastwood's White Hunter, Black Heart) that it threatens to overshadow the film. Yet while all that may be in your mind as you watch, this is one experience that has a way of casting its spell over you in that old time movie magic way, and much of that is to do with how incredibly romantic it is. The leads may not have got on offscreen, but onscreen they have some of the finest chemistry you will ever witness, as Rosie and Charlie's romance burgeons apace and proves as irresistible to the audience as they are to each other. When Rosie persuades Charlie to take revenge on the Germans who have effectively killed Samuel, he strings her along so far, but eventually her crazy allure is too much to ignore and he is getting up to such business as making torpedoes for her to sink an enemy battlesteamer. And it's funny enough to be a comedy, too, not to mention one of the sweetest, albeit implausible, yarns to emerge from the Golden Age. There's something about The African Queen. Music by Allan Gray.

[Masses of extras on Eureka's Blu-ray edition:

Hardbound Slipcase
PLUS: A LIMITED EDITION 60-PAGE Perfect Bound Collector's book featuring archival writing on the film
Spectacular 4K restoration by ITV and Paramount Pictures
Uncompressed LPCM audio (original mono)
Isolated music & effects track
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Audio commentary by cinematographer Jack Cardiff
Embracing Chaos: Making The African Queen, a comprehensive documentary about the making of the film
A video interview with co-screenwriter Peter Viertel, author of White Hunter, Black Heart, by filmmaker Michael Scheingraber
Audio recording of an on-stage NFT discussion about the film with Anjelica Huston and script supervisor Angela Allen from 2010
Audio recording of the Guardian interview with John Huston at the National Film Theatre in 1981, discussing his work and career
New video interview with critic Kim Newman
New video interview with historian Neil Sinyard
Lux Radio Theater adaptation from 1952 with Humphrey Bogart and Greer Garson
Original theatrical trailer.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1220 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: