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
Though Katharine Hepburn was having the time of her life in Africa, she was dubious about the production in the beginning. She remained alarmed at the lack of a completed screenplay from Huston, lack of clear communication, the vagueness of the details, and the general attitude of just winging it. She didn't really know Humphrey Bogart or John Huston except that they made great movies together and liked to drink - a pastime she took no pleasure in, having dealt with Spencer Tracy's alcoholism for years. To make matters worse, Huston and Bogart enjoyed having fun with the haughty Hepburn. See more »
When the feverish Reverend Sayer is in bed, only a few days after being bludgeoned with a rifle butt, his cheek is perfectly smooth and pink with no sign of an injury. See more »
We can't do that!
How do you know? You never tried it.
Well, yeah, but I never tried shooting myself in the head neither.
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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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