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
Jack Cardiff, director of photography said of the location 'We were supposed to make the film in Uganda but John Huston went on a recce and sent a message back to producer John Woolf saying that he didn't like the locations and he disappeared for about 2 weeks. We then got a cable saying that he'd found a wonderful place in the Belgian Congo, It was a ghastly location in the wilds of the Congo 2 days drive from Stanleyville but it was what John wanted and would never be talked out of anything he'd set his mind on'. See more »
When setting the torpedo, Allnut's cigar is shown to be a stub, in the next scene it's longer. See more »
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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