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The African Queen (1951)

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In Africa during World War I, a gin-swilling riverboat captain is persuaded by a strait-laced missionary to use his boat to attack an enemy warship.

Director:

John Huston

Writers:

C.S. Forester (novel), James Agee (adapted for the screen by) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Humphrey Bogart ... Charlie Allnutt
Katharine Hepburn ... Rose Sayer
Robert Morley ... The Brother / Rev. Samuel Sayer
Peter Bull ... Captain of Louisa
Theodore Bikel ... First Officer
Walter Gotell ... Second Officer
Peter Swanwick Peter Swanwick ... First Officer of Shona
Richard Marner ... Second Officer of Shona
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Storyline

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 KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The greatest adventure a man ever lived...with a woman! See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, some violence and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | German | Swahili

Release Date:

21 March 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

African Queen See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$536,118, 24 December 1967

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,750,000, 10 April 1990
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Production censors objected to several aspects of the original script, which included the two characters cohabiting without the formality of marriage. Some changes were made before the film was completed. See more »

Goofs

After the African Queen gets clear of the flying insects 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. See more »

Quotes

Rose: [after Charlie checks the boat for damage after going down a rather rough set of rapids] Could you see anything, dear?
Charlie Allnut: Yeah. The shaft's twisted like a corkscrew and there's a blade gone off the prop.
Rose: We'll have to mend it, then.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: GERMAN EAST AFRICA September 1914 See more »


Soundtracks

Bold Fisherman
(uncredited)
Sung by Humphrey Bogart
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A dissolute , hard-drinking seamer captain and a stiff , prim spinster join forces to sink a German gunboat
13 December 2018 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

This is the great classic movie it is often claimed to be , being impossible to deny its entertainment and thought-provoking value . A witty screenplay by James Agee and John Huston himself from C.S. Forester's novel and glimmer color cinematography raise this interesting and amusing story . Not-to be-missed this Huston movie made on location in dangerous , risked environments and under testing conditions . In Africa during World War I, after Bible-thumping spinster's (Hepburn) missionary brother (Robert Morley) is dead by fevers , a hard-drinking , sympathetic , gin-swigging riverboat captain (Bogart) is persuaded by her to use his boat and undertake a risked trip down African wild rivers . Not satisfied with sanctuary, Rose proposes him blocking German advance by attacking and trying to sink an enemy warship. Their trying odyssey downriver , of course, gradually sees the two incompatible falling in love . Along the way , and their time alone on the African rivers turn aversion and mistrust into comradeship and love , a transition effectively counterpointed by the continuing intrigue of their daring assignment. Bogart the King is back with the 'Queen!' . The mightiest adventure ever filmed . Actually filmed in the savage splendor and dangers of the Belgian Congo . The greatest adventure a man ever lived with a woman . As Rose says the following words : Nature is what we are put in this world to rise above .

Richly characterized film , this is a throughly agreeable movie . Both protagonists , Bogart and Hepburn , spend most of their time battling each other and facing off aquatic obstacles . Classy war of sexes screenplay adapted from known novel by C.S. Forester makes marvellous use of enjoyable humor and natural as well as sparking dialogue . However , Forester novel ends in John Huston style , as protagonists fail their attempt to destroy the warship . The always detached Humphrey Bogart is top-notch as a cowardly riverboat captain who is persuaded by a stern lady to carry out a dangerous voyage offering her safe passage . And top-drawer Katharina Hepburn as a strait-laced missionary . They are accompanied by a good support cast , giving brief but charming performances , such as : Theodore Bikel , Walter Gotell , Peter Bull and special mention for Robert Morley . The shimmer photography in Technicolor by the great cameraman Jack Cardiff , the intelligent script , musical score by Allan Gray and gorgeous African exteriors help to counteract the basically implausible and contrived nature of the tale . Being shot on location in various African and European countries such as : Budongo Forest, Democratic Republic Of Congo , then called Congo Belgian , Lake Albert, Uganda Ruiki River, Democratic Republic Of Congo , Biondo , Kabalega Falls, Kabalega Falls National Park, Uganda and Isleworth Studios, London Road, Isleworth, Middlesex, England, UK Worton Hall Studios, Isleworth , UK and Los Angeles, California, USA

It contains an attractive script by John Agee , John Huston and Paul Viertel , Deborah Kerr's husband , he published in 1953 a novel titled : White hunter , Black hunter , describing the shooting incidents and many years later adapted by Clint Eastwood with Eastwood himself as Huston and Jeff Fahey . Being well produced by Horizon Pictures a production company created by Huston and Sam Spiegel , and the British Romulus Film . Forester novel copyright was bought by Warner Bros that to be thought to hire as protagonists : Charles Laughton-Elsa Lancaster , and later on , the couple : David Niven-Bette Davis , and subsequently : Paul Henreid-Ida Lupino . Finally , the roles went to Bogart-Hepburn . The film was nominated to screenplay and Hepburn was also nominated for an Academy Award for her splendid portrayal of the stiff-upper-lip and rasp-tongued spinster who gradually developes mellower feelings forward her drunk , rugged companion . Bogart , at last ,won the Academy Award he deserved for his stunning portrayal of the alcohol-soaked riverboat captain


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