September 1914, news reaches the colony German Eastern Africa that Germany is at war, so Reverend Samuel Sayer became a hostile foreigner. German imperial troops burn down his mission; he is beaten and dies of fever. His well-educated, snobbish sister Rose Sayer buries him and leaves by the only available transport, the dilapidated river steamboat 'African Queen' of grumpy Charlie Allnut. As if a long difficult journey without any comfort weren't bad enough for such odd companions, she is determined to find a way to do their bit for the British war effort (and avenge her brother) and aims high, as God is obviously on their side: construct their own equipment, a torpedo and the converted steamboat, to take out a huge German warship, the Louisa, which is hard to find on the giant lake and first of all to reach, in fact as daunting an expedition as anyone attempted since the late adventurous explorer John Speakes, but she presses till Charlie accepts to steam up the Ulana, about to brave... Written by
there was a language barrier between the film people and the locals that led to wild misunderstandings. For instance, for the scene that called for Brother Samuel's mission to be burned by the Germans, the crew built a village for the express purpose of burning it down. John Huston asked a local leader to bring a bunch of locals to be extras in the scene. However, when the day came for filming, not one of them showed up. It turned out that a rumour had spread among them that the film people were cannibals and it was a trap-anyone who came would be eaten. See more »
In some close-ups of the African Queen, her name is painted in white letters. Other shots show the name of the boat in black lettering. See more »
This is almost strictly a two-person movie with Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn dominating the story and screen time. It's a likable classic film because of those two famous actors, a nice romance, good adventure and even some comedy thrown in to the mix. I'm shocked a well-known film with these actors still isn't available on DVD in Region 1, as of late 2006.
The two actors squabble in the beginning but I like the fact that the film didn't go on too long in that regard as they did in many old-time battle-of-the-sexes movies. The story also a little unusual in that neither lead actor is in his/her prime, meaning it's almost a middle-age romance story.
Once they become enamored with each other, the movie mainly goes into the trials the two have in piloting this boat, "The African Queen" down river with the goal of reaching a German ship and blowing it up. Yes, it's a World War II movie, of sorts.
To be honest, the film does slow down a bit in the beginning of Bogie and Hepburn's romance but the last 30 minutes finish strong with one obstacle after another hitting the pair of adventurers, and it's interesting to watch.
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