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
For the temporary production headquarters, John Huston set up shop in Kindu (then called Ponthierville) which was little more than a collection of tin roof huts at the end of a small railway line that carried river cargo to and from the nearest town, Stanleyville. Huston hired locals to clear an area and build a camp for the production within 8 days. There were makeshift dorms, bungalows, offices, a storage hut, makeup hut, a dining area and, of course, a bar. With added cots, chairs and mosquito netting, the camp was ready for habitation just prior to the arrival of the rest of the cast and crew. It would prove to be an adventure of a lifetime for all involved. See more »
When Allnut is telling the Reverend and Rose about the war, among the countries he says are involved in it is Spain. In fact, Spain was never at war throughout the 1910s. See more »
Captain of Louisa:
By the authority granted to me by his Imperial Majestey Kaiser Wilhelm the Second I pronounce you man and wife - proceed with the execution.
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This one's unique. The photography often makes it look like a travelogue, but it's one of the most captivating adventure/love stories ever put on film. Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn cruising down the river. Taking care of the gin. Over the rapids. Past the bullets. Through the swamp. Among the leeches. "It's no wonder you love boating, Mr. Alnutt." And guess who comes to the rescue! This is an epic quest, the kind of tale humans have been spinning since we learned to talk. Movies don't get much better than this.
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