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The African Queen (1951) Poster

Goofs

Anachronisms 

While passing the German fort, a hose on the boiler is shot and damaged. Allnut wraps a cloth around the hose and then begins to wrap it with tape. The tape is clearly cotton-based black gaffer's tape, used in movie and stage production to cover and hide set hardware that is not to be seen. Gaffer's tape was invented by Johnson & Johnson in 1942 in response to the military's request for a tape that could be used to seal metal ammunition boxes to keep out water. Thus it did not exist in 1914 when the movie is set.
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Boom mic visible 

On first evening on African Queen, while Rose is drinking her tea, the shadow of the boom mic appears over the port edge of the boat several times.
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Character error 

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.
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Robert Morley's character refers to a college friend slightly younger than him being made a Bishop. American Methodists have Bishops, but British ones don't.
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The torpedoes that Charlie made for the African Queen were constructed from red hydrogen cylinders. He said they were oxygen cylinders, which are black.
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Continuity 

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.
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When arguing about who is going to steer the torpedoes, a cigar suddenly appears in Charlie's mouth.
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When Charlie wakes up in the rain, his blanket is completely soaked. After Rosie lets him in out of the rain, his blanket is dry.
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When setting the torpedo, Allnut's cigar is shown to be a stub, in the next scene it's longer.
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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.
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When Charlie climbs back onto the boat after diving under the water to inspect the damage to the propeller and shaft, his hair and upper torso are clearly dry.
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During the final storm, a wave swamps the boat, fills the furnace, and extinguishes the fire. In the next scene, the fire is still flickering.
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Blue sky and sunshine can be seen in the shots of assorted wildlife during the major rainstorm.
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When Charlie calls Rose a psalm-singing, skinny old maid, the knot on his neckerchief changes.
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When Rev. Samuel and Rose kneel to pray, his coat is unbuttoned. When they go out to attend the African man who screams, his coat is completely buttoned.
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When Rose is pulled back into the "Queen" after bathing, her clothes are damp, but not dripping wet, which after being fully immersed in the water they should be.
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While shooting the first rapids a close up of Rose shows her to be sitting with dry clothes. A distance shot shows water cascading into the Queen and all over either a dummy in the miniature or a stunt double of Rose, nearly flattening her hat. A return close up, Rose is still dry, especially her hat.
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Crew or equipment visible 

When Charlie Allnut gets back aboard the boat after he pulled him with a rope, just after Rose screams because she has seen the leeches on his back, the head of a member of the troupe is visible below the screen.
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Errors in geography 

The nameplate on the front of the church says "1st Methodist". American Methodists sometimes call their churches 1st Methodist, British Methodists never do.
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Factual errors 

When they are passing the German fort, the Germans and Askaris are using British Long Lee Enfield rifles, not German Mausers.
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The propeller on the boat is made of bronze (stainless steel hadn't been invented yet). Bronze can not be easily welded, even with the proper equipment but he welds a new blade to the propeller. (In the book, Allnut makes a replacement blade out of iron, and rivets it to the bronze propeller.)
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Revealing mistakes 

When Rosie tries to climb aboard the boat, you can tell from her shoulder blade and leg that she is naked. When Charlie helps her into the boat, she is wearing women's underwear.
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After the first rapids scene, there is a drinking scene. Bogart dips a glass of water into the river, then places it out of sight. He then carefully picks up a different glass from a different spot before pouring whiskey in and taking a sip. The water level in the "safe" glass, from which he drinks, is clearly different from that in the actual river water glass.
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Allnut gets wet sleeping under the open sky, and Rose finally lets him into the canopied part of the boat. After he falls asleep, she opens an umbrella to protect him from the rain. When she opens the umbrella, it is already wet, presumably from previous takes.
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Due to the non-scalability of water, some of the shots of The African Queen in the rapids and later in the marsh reveal it to be an obvious miniature.
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When Charlie and Rosie are being attacked by a swarm of mosquitoes, the entire swarm moves around in unison. They are superimposed on a glass plate over the film.
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Obvious double for Robert Morley as he tends the garden after the Germans leave.
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When Allnut goes underwater to check the propeller, the water lifts up the back of Humphrey Bogart's toupee, revealing his bald pate.
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After the African Queen gets clear of the mosquitoes and Charlie is comforting Rosie, both characters are in focus and the engine behind them isn't. However, the trees which are behind the engine are sharply in focus. This is proof that the scene was matted and looks very unnatural.
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Shortly after escaping the swarm of mosquitoes, the Queen enters a narrow channel. As it enters, water can be seen coming from an exhaust outlet on the boats transom indicating that it has an internal combustion engine and not powered by steam.
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As 'Charlie Allnut' taunts the hippos swimming toward The African Queen, a very distinct white edge can be seen around the boiler and pressure gauge behind him. In addition, Allnut is in focus, the boiler and pressure gauge behind him are out of focus, and the trees in the distance are sharply in focus. This is all evidence of an imperfectly executed matte shot, with Allnut and boiler in the foreground image and the trees in the background plate.
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Spoilers 

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Audio/visual unsynchronised 

In the final scene, when Charlie and Rosie are swimming in the lake, their voices reverberate as they talk to each other, revealing that they are indoors, not outside.
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Character error 

At the end, Charlie and Rose are married by the captain of the Luisa. However, their marriage would not be legal. The captain of a ship has no particular power to perform weddings. The Navies of America, Britain, and various other countries specifically prohibit a commanding officer from performing marriage ceremonies.
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Continuity 

Allnut's stubble is heavy when he is interrogated on the boat, but much lighter in the water after the Louisa sinks.
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Continuity 

When the Germans arrive at the village, Rev. Sayer confronts a German soldier, who hits him in the face with a rifle butt. He falls to the ground, and the left side of his face near his mouth is swollen, bruised, and bloodied. The Germans then burn the village. A short time later, while the village is still smoldering, Rev. Sayer is working outside. Rose talks to him and brings him inside. His face is unblemished, with no swelling or bruising.
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Continuity 

When Allnut sets up the torpedoes in the African Queen, the holes are a little behind the prow. The turned boat, which supposedly explodes the German ship, has the torpedoes ahead.
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Revealing mistakes 

Several shots of the Luisa and the African Queen on the lake are poorly matted. When Charlie and Rosie are hiding in the brush as the Luisa passes nearby, the ship is clearly not moving forward, though it is under steam, and its size is also out of proportion to the setting. Later, in the shots of the Luisa approaching the capsized African Queen (seen in the foreground), the Queen is an obvious model and the water surrounding it blurs unconvincingly into the background shots of the actual lake with the Luisa on it.
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Revealing mistakes 

During the "wedding," the water in the background is not moving and is obviously a photograph.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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