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If some one remakes this, I'm sending out a posse.
Kayt R17 August 2000
To face a script in which most of the plot revolves around the dialogue of only two people in one location must be terrifying. Thank goodness for Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. John Huston's adaptation of C.S. Forester's The African Queen was solid. And the decision to film on location in Africa helped develop the concept of nature as a viable character within the plot helps solidify the film. But without Katharine Hepburn, and Humphry Bogart, this film could have been reduced to a nice little travelog on the beauty and terror of African and the pretty animals living there. Within The African Queen each character undergoes metamorphosis. Charlie Alnutt grows from an apathetic man who enjoys the inside of a bottle, to a courageous man. Rosie in turn allows herself to be human, and vulnerable perhaps for the first time in her life. With lesser actors these changes would have appeared rushed, unexplained,and a dull beginning to an inexplicable romance. But it isn't. It's a captivating film. Rosie's brittle smile, Charlie's face as his vices are destroyed, these are moments of brilliance in an incredible film. I highly recommend it.

It's also worth noting that this was not an easy film to make. These performances survived crew and cast illnesses, constant mechanical errors and inclement weather. For more about the conditions it was created under, I suggest you read Katherine Hepburn's The Making of The African Queen or How I went to Africa with Bogart, Bacall and Huston and almost lost my mind. She's not the sanest author in the world, but all the more enjoyable.
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Out of Africa with Bogey and Kate
gaityr6 February 2002
This is one of those films whose special effects and scenery must have been astounding at the time (1951), but which seem mediocre at best today. BUT, and that's a big 'but', this does not detract from the greatness of the movie overall. The scenery truly is beautiful, for one thing--and the direction and cinematography is great.

However, what truly makes this film a classic, and deservedly so, is the performances given by the lead actors. For their one film together, Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn pull out all the stops. Bogart is crude, dirty and a low-life river-rat with a heart of gold. He gives the Oscar-winning performance of his lifetime. Hepburn is prim and prissy, but always manages to win us over with her radiance and vulnerability, as well as that core of steel and strength she lends to all her on-screen characters. He's charming, in his way; she's achingly beautiful in hers. You can't help but warm to Charlie and Rosie, and truly, genuinely root for them to get together.

The ending is predictable; all 'opposites-attract' romance adventure stories are. You know without a doubt that the sunset will be there for Charlie and Rosie to ride off (or swim) into together. But you still hurt when Charlie hurts; and you still smile like a fool when he sees Rose, and when he tries to explain her forthrightness away by jungle fever. You believe the love, and that's what the African Queen is all about.

Oh, and the gin and leech scenes, of course. Those are brilliant, as everyone else here has already mentioned! ;)
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Don't Take This One For Granted
gftbiloxi3 June 2005
THE African QUEEN is probably one of the most widely available films in the world, on sale in the electronics department of virtually every major retail chain, a commonplace at every rental counter, frequently seen on television. It is hard to imagine any one in the western world, especially in the United States, who has not seen the film at least once--and probably more than once. And so we take it for granted.

That is a mistake. Based on the famous C.S. Forester novel, which it follows quite closely, THE African QUEEN is the simple story of pragmatic river-rat Charlie Allnut (Bogart) and high-minded Methodist missionary spinster Rose Sayer (Hepburn) who are thrown together by chance when German troops sweep through Africa during World War I. Once safely aboard his beat-up riverboat "The African Queen," Allnut desires nothing more than to dodge the Germans until war's end; Rose, however, determines to strike a blow against the Germans by sailing the boat downriver to attack a German battleship.

There are so many fine things about this movie that they are hard to innumerate. Filmed on location in the Congo, the cinematography is remarkably fine without being obtrusive; the script, which is at once subtle and very purposeful, has a remarkably natural tone; the two stars--who play the vast majority of the film alone together--give justly famous performances; and Huston's direction is so fine that we never feel even the slightest hint of directorial manipulation. As an adventure, it has a sense of realism that most adventure stories lack; as a character study it is remarkably detailed and finely wrought; as a love story, it is quite touching without engaging in common sentimentality. And it can be enjoyed by many people of diverse backgrounds and ages without the faintest qualm.

If you haven't seen THE African QUEEN in a while (or heaven forbid never seen it at all) don't take it for granted thinking you'll catch it sooner or later. Sit down with the film and watch it with fresh eyes. You'll be amazed.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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Love Isn't Just For the Young
bkoganbing18 June 2005
The African Queen is a significant historical film in two respects. Along with King Solomon's Mines it was the first American film to show the real Africa to the American public. Previously our ideas about Africa were gleaned from studio backlot jungles created for Tarzan films and the like. The African Queen changed all that, no cheap studio sets would do any more.

But also, The African Queen dealt with romance among mature adults in their forties. A ne'er do well river pilot on a ramshackle boat and the spinster sister of a missionary, thrown together by the circumstance of war.

Humphrey Bogart, our intrepid river pilot, makes a scheduled stop to deliver mail to the mission run by Robert Morley and Katharine Hepburn. And he breaks the news to them that World War I has started. Almost as soon as he leaves them, German troops from East Africa come to call. Bogie comes back and he finds Kate with her dead brother. They bury him and skedaddle. And while skedaddling they conceive of a cockeyed plan to help in the war effort.

To say what it is and what happens would spoil the story, but let me say this. The original opening of the film with Bogart coming in as church services are being conducted for a few hundred uncomprehending native Africans is Director John Huston's comment on the usefulness of the lives Morley and Hepburn have led up to that point. What Hepburn and Bogart accomplish by the end of the film makes up for the waste that was Hepburn's life.

But The African Queen is a great romance as well. Bogart became a great romantic star in Casablanca and he upholds the tradition here, winning an Academy Award for Best Actor. Katie Hepburn doesn't seem to miss her usual partner Spencer Tracy not a bit, the part of Rose Sayer is a perfect fit. As was remarked, they're going to have stories to tell their grandkids.

When I watch The African Queen I'm reminded of what Bogart's friend Frank Sinatra sang in one of his best ballads about how Love Isn't Just For the Young. Kate and Bogie sure prove it here.
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A successful mixture of comedy, character and adventure
Nazi_Fighter_David28 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
"The African Queen" was Bogart's fourth film to be directed by John Huston and his performance in it was very likely the best in his career as well as one which finally won him an Academy Award… He beat out Marlon Brando, who was heavily favored to win for "A Streetcar Named Desire."

The screenplay by Huston and the celebrated movie critic-writer, James Agee, matched Bogart with Katherine Hepburn in what amounted to a two-star tour de force in a deeply touching romance linked to adventures and heroics…

Bogart and Hepburn were delightful as they infused their personal conflict with a warmth, humor, and tenderness rarely seen in films… Mixing comedy and adventure, it was a two-character film, in which Hepburn gave a fine demonstration of her ability to develop within a role... The sensitive interaction between her and Bogart (in an unfamiliar guise) undoubtedly benefited from her many films with Tracy…

Bogart was given a rare opportunity to demonstrate his range as an actor, more than holding his own opposite the formidable Hepburn... He played many scenes with maximum effectiveness, down impossible rapids, where he becomes covered with leeches and suffers a severe fever attack, his drunk scene where he rebels against Hepburn and mocks her high-blown speeches, and the tender moments in which he realizes he's fallen under her bewitching spell…

"The African Queen" was not an easy film to make, most of it being done on location in the insect-infested, suffocatingly hot and humid African Congo… But the result was a brilliantly entertaining film, a successful mixture of comedy, character and adventure
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A Great Classic With Everything You Could Ask For
Snow Leopard2 August 2001
This great classic has everything you could ask for - two fine stars who could carry the show by themselves, and a story full of adventure, drama, humor, and romance. It's a lot of fun to watch, and it is also a film you can admire for the expert way it was put together.

Bogart and Hepburn not only give great performances, they are also wonderful together, and they make the on-screen relationship between their characters believable and interesting - it's great to watch as it develops. The adventures that they find are that much more entertaining for the way that you come to care about them. The story itself is exciting, too, with a lot of ups and downs for the heroes. Topping it off are the wonderful settings, with a lot of fine shots of wild animals and jungle scenery - there is always plenty to look at, and it also sets off the action nicely.

Any one of a number of things would make "The African Queen" worth watching, and as a whole it is a terrific movie. It's a must-see for any fan of classic movies, and one that you can also enjoy watching numerous times.
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The African Queen
Coxer9923 March 1999
An amazing romance-adventure classic highlighted by the brilliant performances of Bogart and Hepburn. Oscar winner Bogart's Charlie is a broken man who finds true hope and happiness in Hepburn's Rose. Rose finds love and meaning from Charlie. It's adorable to see them call each other "Missus" and "Mr. Almont" even when we know that they love each other. Even when they have their "first quarrel" near the end of the picture, we know that their lives have changed forever as a result of the other person. It's a film about true love. This is also a very funny film, which was a shock to director Huston. Bogart's stomach growling scene early on in the film is a hoot. More humor commences as both stars play off of each other wonderfully. The scenary is beautiful. No film has captured the essence and importance of nature better than this classic. This is the film that sparked other romance adventures such as "Romancing the Stone" and "Six Days and Seven Nights." Before you view those newer installments, you better check out the one and true original classic.
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Bogie Deserved It
Sargebri14 January 2004
To me this film will always be the validation of Humphrey Bogart's long and distinguished career. His portrayal of the hard drinking Charlie was what made this film what it was. Also, he showed just how great an actor he was when he was able to match up against the woman who is generally considered to be the greatest actress in film history, Katherine Hepburn. Also, this film will always be recognized for having the perfect mix of action, romance and comedy and it will always be a classic.
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The most exciting, romantic and inspiring Odyssey of American Cinema
ElMaruecan8230 October 2013
He loves his boat and knows the African river like his pocket. She loves her country and believes in accomplishment driven by faith and patriotism.

It's all natural that the two main protagonists of "The African Queen" turn the titular boat into the unsung heroine of a military deed, whose success is as improbable as the very thought that a straight-laced Methodist missionary spinster would fall in love with a coarse, rudimentary and gin-soaked mailman, but not so when the romance serves as the very fuel of that mission, and when it's Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn and John Huston on the lead: the miracle of "The African Queen", as movie and story, is the result of three immense talents confidently maneuvering in the same direction.

Film historian and critic Richard Schickel said about Hepburn that her secret appeal relied on the characters she usually played: "a woman on her high horse with slightly pretentious, often comically stated ideas about the world. It was for men to bring her down and get her to reveal herself as quite a good gal, sporty and democratic" generally, the task would fall to "slightly rough-necked and good-natured male" But for once, "The African Queen" provides an interesting twist to the usual formula, because it's Rose who gets Charlie on her horse. The effect is even greater because it forces Bogart to abandon his tough-guy facade, and (for once again) play a man who tries to please a woman.

Huston's "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" had already demonstrated a new range of versatility in Bogart's acting, but even as the anti-heroic Fred C. Dobbs, Bogart was exuding a threatening toughness; as Allnut, it's a new step on his career, as a more lovable kind of loser, in a performance that will earn him an Oscar for Best Actor (Hepburn, Huston and James Agee for the screenplay will also be nominated). The word 'loser' might sound too harsh, but it's still better than coward, which seems to fit Allnut's initial plan to avoid trouble and hide in a spot with enough supply of gin, waiting for that worldwide war (the first) to stop. Too bad for him, he's got Hepburn aboard, an iron-lady who followed her bother (Robert Morley) in German East Africa only to witness the efforts of a lifetime being burned down by the Kaiser's army, a fatal shock for the brother.

But Rose is stronger than her ill-fated brother and when she accepts to set off aboard "The African Queen", she's most determined to be part of the conflict, not in the victim's departments. And the glorious boat, becomes the unlikely arena of two one dominant and one dominated spirit in Allnut, treating Rose as a lady, until he finds out that she's not a passive and fear-stricken female observer. It's indeed Rose who suggests the idea of building a torpedo, out of oxygen cylinders and inflammable material, to destroy a German ship blocking the way to British ships from a lake downriver. Allnut argues that it's going to a certain death, they'll have to navigate along a German fort, to negotiate a few rapids, to get mired on mud across dense reeds, their chances of survival are mighty slim. An unflappable Rose then confronts Allnut to his own responsibilities as both a man, and a Canadian subject of the Union Jack brandished by the boat, and Allnut, not to lose face, accepts with reluctance.

But we know it's a matter of time before Rose drives Allnut all nut, he finally gives himself a little one-to-one gin-soaked party, driving enough anger to finally take his promise back, disappointing his distinguished and courageous host. He wakes up with one hell of a hangover and all his emptied bottles floating on the river; trying to make amends from his behavior, he explains that his drinking is only expression of human nature, to which he gets the greatest cinematic come-back ever "nature, Mr Allnut is what we're put in this world to rise above", and the line resonates as the film's motto. It's never about what we have at hands, but what we can build on it. Rosie ignites the fire of bravery in Allnut, and the exhilarating cross of the first obstacles lead to the victorious embrace, sealing the existence of a love that got from one heart to the other, through a taped adrenalin-filled boiler hose, and a few rows as tumultuous as the rapids.

This is not Hollywood corny romantic comedy; this is John Huston confronting two genuine characters one another, an inspirational believer and a practical technician, both combining their strengths for survival and accomplishment. Katharine Hepburn might play her usual 'strong woman' role but she's never mean-spirited. On the other hand, Bogie is clearly in love with his 'Rosie', he admires her and can see that she's changing him for the better, it's not just about forming a couple, but being a team, not just about being a team, but improving, for love and for duty, whether for sharing a tent during under a heavy storm, to fix a propeller underwater or to even accept that God is still the one who has the last word.

That's "The African Queen": thrilling, romantic, inspiring, starring the two stars, honored by the American Film Institute as the greatest screen legends, Bogart and Hepburn, in interactions full of comedy given the opposition of their personalities and a believable chemistry built on trust, incentive and partnership, this is not 'holding-hands' heroism à la "Titanic", each step is tackled with technical precision. Which makes the climactic duel with the Germans a bit less realistic by contrast but this is another aspect of Hollywood's immortal classics, sometimes; every single element has not to be taken seriously for a triumphal ending.

Indeed, when you have great actors, great writing and great director on the tiller, the story can surely navigate its way to legend.
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A dissolute , hard-drinking seamer captain and a stiff , prim spinster join forces to sink a German gunboat
ma-cortes13 December 2018
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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Humor,Adventure,action,Romance and Humphrey Bogart.What more do you want!!!
anton-63 November 2001
The acting by Bogart is brilliant and Katharine Hepburn is as good.It´s exciting and VERY funny.It also have a great direction by John Huston and even if a few of the action scenes feels old and maybe some of the special effects is not fantastic Humphrey Bogart really deserved his Oscar but Katharine Hepburn is as good.The dialogue between them is wonderful.4,5/5
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One of the greatest romantic films of all time
LilyDaleLady20 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I can't believe there is any doubt after fifty-five years that "African Queen" is one of the greatest romantic/adventure films of all time, and one of Humphrey Bogart's most delightful roles.

Some "classic" films appear awkward and even amateurish after all this time, due to the stunning advances in film technology over the decades, but "African Queen" remains astonishing fresh. I believe this is due to the rugged on-location filming, which is a Hollywood legend in and of itself (Please read Katherine Hepburn's excellent book "Making of the African Queen" AND Clint Eastwood's outstanding film 'White Hunter, Black Heart", for an accurate and detailed look at the goings-on behind the cameras). The realism of the location filming feels as immediate and convincing as if the movie had been filmed this year.

Bogart and Katherine Hepburn turn in what must be among the very best performances of their respective careers, as a drunken captain and a prim missionary lady. Perhaps because they are initially not very sympathetic or traditionally "good looking" or even young, their courtship is deeply touching. I think that this is one of the most moving screen romances of all time because of's a refreshing change from youth-obsessed Hollywood (then as now) to see 40-somethings in a convincing and deeply romantic love story.

My favorite scene remains the one where Charlie and Rosie, exhausted by their travails trying to get the African Queen through a reed-choked section of river, collapse unconscious in the boat, feeling they are doomed for certain death...while a crane shots shows that they have indeed reached the last portion of the reeds, and are gracefully floating into clear waters...what a beautiful metaphor for hope against all odds. This never fails to move me to tears.

Surely one of the source inspirations for modern stuff like "Indiana Jones", "African Queen" has plenty of physical adventure (white water rapids), evil Germans (always reliable baddies, even in WWI), gross out parts (the leeches) and that this film seems equally loved by both men and women. It's a grand adventure as well as a sensitive love story. The ending is one of the most deeply satisfying in all of cinema history.

That brings me to the source material -- the original novel by C.S. Forrester. Many reviewers comment on this, but I'll bet that very few have READ it. I went to great lengths to order this long out-of-print novel (so short it's almost a novella) from interlibrary loan a few years back. The film is a remarkably faithful adaptation of the book, with ONE glaring obsession. I don't think it's an actual spoiler to remark on this for film history buffs, but I'll still buffer this:

"SPOILER ALERT! (well, sort of)"

In the movie, Rosie and Charlie are married by the German captain and this is one of the satisfying romantic highlights of the film, especially as they ask to marry just before what appears to be their certain execution. However, in the book, it's revealed at the novel's end (which otherwise mostly reflects the film's ending) that Charlie is a womanizer, who has already married (but never divorced) several other women. He's a bigamist, who doesn't take his vows with the least seriousness and will undoubtedly leave Rosie, just as he has the last three wives. Furthermore, due to his bigamy, their "marriage" is a sham and certainly invalid.

This is the ironic twist that ends the novel, and I can't say I am surprised that Hollywood cleaned it up to present us with the far more conventional (and I have to admit, far more satisfying) ending that exists. However, for film buffs, I think this detail is interesting and well-worth knowing!
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Bogart And Hepburn At Their Best
ctrout14 February 2007
Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn are arguably the two greatest performers of all time. Bogart has proved his success with such roles as Rick Blaine in Casablanca and Samuel Spade in The Maltese Falcon. Hepburn has shown us her talents with The Philadelphia Story and Bringing Up Baby. Did they ever happen to make a movie together? Yes, they did. Was it any good? You bet your ass!

The African Queen is a rousing tale of adventure and romance with two unlikely companions. Bogie plays a steamboat captain who agrees to take Robert Morley's sister, The Great Kate, back to civilization during the onset of World War I. In the process, they must fight for survival along treacherous waters.

The gin-guzzling riverboat captain is a great counter to the strait-laced missionary and the two stars make this a ride to remember. Besides the performances, the script probably shines the most. James Agee and John Huston, who also directed, have a great knack for writing crisp and smooth interplay between the two leads.

There aren't very many supporting roles in this movie, but Robert Morley makes the best of his small performance. He's actually quite memorable and he hearkens back to supporting players of older Bogart movies like Sidney Greenstreet.

Both leads received well deserved Oscar nominations and Humphrey Bogart finally won his big award. That should tell you that I'm not the only one who thought this movie was excellent. If you like stirring action with great chemistry from the stars, then you'll love The African Queen.
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Man Against the Great Zambeeze
thinker169122 May 2007
Few films are as long lasting as the great memories they create in the minds of their audience. In the life of some actors, few indeed stand out from their competition. The "African Queen" is one such film. The great John Huston took a boatload of cameras, a case of whiskey, film cargo, and two legendary actors and pitted them against the African elements. In doing so, an immortal saga was created. The story is that of bush river Captain Charlie Allnut, (Humphrey Bogart) being challenged by a spinster, named Rose 'Rosy' Sayer, who has tragically lost her missionary brother, (Robert Morley), to sail down the treacherous and formidable Zambeeze river. Once there, the plan is to sail out on Lake Victoria, engage and destroy a German warship named the Louisia. An insane voyage to be sure and one filled with many other terrors such as man eating crocodiles, swarms of flesh eating mosquito's and blood-sucking, black water leeches. The film is typical Huston and many believe that the scene where Bogart is pulling the tiny boat through the reed-lined African swamp, earned him his very first well deserve Oscar. For his fans, this is a classic which lives in the treasured moments of cinematic history. *****
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entertaining but overrated
tolbs101011 February 2005
The African Queen is an entertaining film done in grand old Hollywood style, and it is probably the most conventional movie John Huston ever made. It's surprising though that people can call this movie one of the greatest of all time considering the hokey (and at times unbelievable) script and the awkward lack of chemistry between Bogart and Hepburn. Actually, that lack of chemistry creates some strangely funny moments which change the tone of this adventure story--sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. The two are never really believable as the characters they are playing, but they are still fun to watch as a couple of stars chewing up the scenery. Bogart's Academy Award for this performance is obviously a Revlon choice in that it makes up for his being overlooked for at least 10 better performances that he gave prior to this one. Huston's direction seems to lose focus in the last 10 minutes or so and the ending is very abrupt, but overall the film is briskly paced and painless. Also worth noting is the wonderful use of African locations as photographed by master cinematographer Jack Cardiff. If you want to see a better film with similar themes, check out Huston's far superior Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison.
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Kate and Bogey on a Quest
Bill-30831 January 1999
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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Indescribably Good
pmitsi-122 May 2009
A real gem of film-making! Bogart and Hepburn shine in this two-actors-adventure-movie and even without the breathtaking visual effects of todays' films, it outshines them in its simplicity and authenticity.

The plot is very good and straight and the situation where the two characters (polar opposites) interact is an eye candy for all film goers. Bogard's Oscar as well-deserved and Hepburn could won her fifth with that powerful performance. I consider the film a pioneer in war/jungle movies making and the fact that the "commandos" are so different (a Sunday school teacher and a drunk) makes it all the better.

If you have not seen it run and get it. You won't regret it.
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Bogart's Oscar winner!!
Elizabeth-32818 April 2000
Warning: Spoilers
"The African Queen" is one of the greatest movies I've ever seen! It's funny, adventurous, romantic, and overall entertaining.

My favorite part is when Charlie (Bogart) thinks Rosie (Katharine Hepburn) died when his boat, the "African Queen", was destroyed. The men of the "Louisa", who picked him up, are threatening him with death, but Charlie doesn't even care. He's too distraught about losing Rose. But then they bring her in, and he is overjoyed! She's alive!

I also love the ending, because it keeps you thinking. Since it ends with Charlie and Rose just treading in the water, you wonder if they get to safety or if they drown. I like to think that they swim to safety. But it doesn't really matter, because they're together!

Humphrey Bogart and John Huston, the director, once again create a fantastic movie. Huston also directed Bogie in such classics as "The Maltese Falcon", "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" and "Key Largo". So I recommend this Oscar-winning classic to anyone who wants to see one of the greatest triumphs in Hollywood!
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Giants of the silver screen delivering one giant of a movie.
hitchcockthelegend1 January 2009
WW1, East Africa, after her brother is killed by invading German troops, Rose Sayer is reliant on gruff steamboat captain, Charlie Allnut, to ferry her safely out of harms way and back to civilisation. Trouble is is that they are poles apart in ideals and ways, she is a devoted missionary, he a hard drinking tough nut with a glint in his eye. Yet as they venture further down the river, an unlikely alliance is starting to form, both in personalities and a keenness to give it to the Germans!

It's probably something of a given that The African Queen was starting with an advantage from the very first cry of action! Because to have Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn as your lead actors is not to be sniffed at, whilst also having John Huston directing is stacking the odds heavily in your favour. Thankfully history and time show us that all involved in this piece crafted a most delightful and exciting picture, yet it triumphs more as an intriguing picture than merely a meeting of Hollywood giants. Adapted by Huston and James Agee from the novel by C.S. Forester, it's believed that the original intention was to film it as an outright drama, but whether by star design or a going with the flow attitude, the picture turned out to be a drama fused with splices of humour, the kind where the tongue gets firmly stuck in the cheek.

As character pieces go, The African Queen has few peers, especially in the pantheon of 50s cinema, then you add the excellent story to work from, with the location work in Congo and Uganda expertly utilised by Huston (clearly revelling in the mix) and his photographer, Jack Cardiff. Then there is that magical flow, just as The African Queen (the boat itself) is flowing down the river, so does the film effortlessly glide along without pretentious posturing, screaming out that this is as a humane a story as you are likely to witness again. Some cynical reviewers will point to the dated studio filmed segments as a reason why this film shouldn't be termed a classic amongst classics, but really it's only an issue if you want it to dim your appreciation of the splendour from every other frame. From Bogart and his wry or humorous expressions, to Hepburn and the art of acting prim, this is a pure joy and justly it deserves to make all those lists containing greatest films of all time. 10/10
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Two-Person Adventure Story That Entertains
ccthemovieman-126 October 2006
This is almost strictly a two-person movie with Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn dominating the story and screen time. It's a likable classic film because of those two famous actors, a nice romance, good adventure and even some comedy thrown in to the mix. I'm shocked a well-known film with these actors still isn't available on DVD in Region 1, as of late 2006.

The two actors squabble in the beginning but I like the fact that the film didn't go on too long in that regard as they did in many old-time battle-of-the-sexes movies. The story also a little unusual in that neither lead actor is in his/her prime, meaning it's almost a middle-age romance story.

Once they become enamored with each other, the movie mainly goes into the trials the two have in piloting this boat, "The African Queen" down river with the goal of reaching a German ship and blowing it up. Yes, it's a World War II movie, of sorts.

To be honest, the film does slow down a bit in the beginning of Bogie and Hepburn's romance but the last 30 minutes finish strong with one obstacle after another hitting the pair of adventurers, and it's interesting to watch.
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not up to par with the best of Bogart &/or Huston; Hepburn gets wildly overpraised
Quinoa19843 November 2007
Term "overrated"; it wouldn't be something I would attribute to a film usually as directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart (co-star Katherine Hepburn is another matter). But overtime this little piece of romantic fluff/saga of war-time daring-do has been called one of the greatest American films ever made. And for those who do love it, more power to them. It is a star vehicle first and foremost- and in 1951 if you were going to have two stars for the majority of the running-time these were the two to get- and die-hard fans can praise it as much as they want. But when it comes down to it, the film hasn't aged as well as one might think, and it goes without saying that what was really on Huston's mind during filming (hunting elephants) probably had something to do with the focus coming off of things like, erm, logic. It is a yarn, to be certain, and under the terms of what is "light-hearted" (in quotes because it has some dark undertones) it works out alright. But an all-time classic I think not.

For one thing- and I know I would get some arguing over this- the two stars don't really have that much chemistry. It doesn't help matters that cliché steers the ship; Bogart and Hepburns' characters, Charlie and Rosie, are going down a river where at first they can't stand one another as one is a drunkard on gin and the other is a prissy go-for-it-all who doesn't really see the consequences, AND whenever Bogie somehow gets the African Queen over some rapids she suddenly starts to fall in love with the guy. I don't buy it- when comparing to something like, say, the real McCoy in Bogie and McCall, it doesn't hold a candle. Hepburn, until maybe the second half when she changes gears only slightly, and depending on the risks in the scene, doesn't alter much in her personality. While it is, in a way, a good performance at playing someone who is shrill and prissy, it doesn't help make one care that much about her.

Meanwhile, Bogie is still a pro at what he does (though not Oscar-worthy pro, not up against Brando- the performance that really deserved it was In a Lonely Place, which is sour grapes of course long after the fact). He, and Huston's occasional outbursts of creativity in the simple framework of the script, do make it mildly entertaining; it's a good picture to probably check out on a rainy summer's weekend afternoon with lots of tea (or gin). And there's even a few fascinating bits with the dangers of going down a river in Africa, i.e. the swarming bugs and the leeches as they try and get the boat out of the mud. But by the time of the ending, when the 'what-the-hell' moment happens as the torpedo strikes at the ship at the most unlikely- yet most likely- of moments, I couldn't wait for the recently married to get off the screen. If you haven't seen a film by Huston or with Bogie or Hepburn, look elsewhere to start. If exotic locales and silly romantic river-boat adventure is your game, be my guest.
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Three Great Artists and One Great Movie
joshdcohen9 April 2005
This is not the best movie Ford, Bogart, or Hepburn did as individual artists, the but joining of their considerable talents did create a unique and most enjoyable movie that is fondly associated with all of them.

"The African Queen" is a war movie, romance, adventure, comedy, drama, morality tale, and battle of the sexes all in one and it works on all levels. Though it often appears as somewhat "hoaky"...almost like a silent movie at points with its melodramatic score... that's because it does not strive to recreate reality like the usual war movie, it is actually an on location play. You could put it on a Broadway or London stage today and it would still work without a word or inflection changed.

Though this is a movie of many great moments, what stays with you is the blossoming love of Charlie and Rose and how it helps them find the best in themselves for each other. I guess when all is said and done, "The African Queen" is a romance after all.

If you appreciate any of the great artists that created it or just great movie making, this is one for the collection.
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What year were YOU born?
nhoffman-221 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This film was born in 1952. For those of you who are used to the cgi and tech wizardry of the 90's and this new millennium, then you have a painful adjustment to make. Welcome to reality...

Films used to be shot on a medium called "Film". Actors spoke their lines and they were recorded live on tape. Films were literally cut with a razor blade.

If you aren't prepared to make some allowances for the 1952 date on the film, go away and watch some cgi marvel that doesn't "need" actors. Look at the latest Starwars movie - all cgi, no quality.

Yes, the green screen background is visible in many scenes, but it isn't an impediment to enjoying the movie.

Yes, the boat going down the rapids is a model, with stuffed dummies nailed to the tiller.

Yes, the social niceties of 1952 seem quaint from our perspective, but they were real then - as real as the leeches - The *way* in which the characters work out their personal issues are part of the magic of the movie. By modern standards it's quaint, but back then it was revolutionary.

Never forget this in film reviews - many great films of their era are now outpaced by later copies with more action and less style(rip-offs?). The best films are the most copied and in a strange way the earliest to date - but they come back in style.

That said, I agree that Bogie didn't win the Oscar for *this film* but for his *previous* work that had not been adequately rewarded at the time (Maltese Falcon anyone?). Awards are like this. They're partial and they lag reality...

I agree that Bogie and Hepburn fall together too fast, but at the time it was almost verboten to hint at a night of passion the way this film does. The film was a landmark. We can never go back to how things were in the past, and before this film. Similarly, by breaking so many rules and moulds, this film may have contemned itself to a non-appreciative future with a new generation who don't understand that there was a "before".

Before this film, it had never been done. Once this film did it, nobody could appreciate that one would not do it this way.

Bogie and Hepburn were marvelous here. Watch it just for them...
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Bogart's finest performance (spoilers)
clydefrogg17 February 2004
Warning: Spoilers
The African Queen is one of the finest films ever made, and one of my personal favorites. It is the story of love born between two unlikely human beings amidst intense battles against nature and Ze Germans. Charlie Allnut (Bogart) and Rose Sayer (Hepburn) have no business ever even speaking to each other under normal circumstances. He being the gruff, unkempt lush Canadian "captain" of a one man ship, The African Queen, and she being the somewhat haughty, prim and proper British sister of a missionary killed by the Germans in Africa in the first World War. The film is the story of their worlds meeting during a journey towards the destruction of the German's most powerful ship in Africa.

What is it that makes this film so great? It's all Bogart and Hepburn. Of the roughly 105 minutes of film, it's them and them alone for about 90. Arguably, no two actors have ever solely carried a film this good by themselves. Both, especially Bogart, lose themselves in the roles completely. Of immense help was, of course, director John Huston and the decision to go into Africa and not a Hollywood backlot or LA area river to do the filming. The river and the jungle's harshly real environment made Bogart and Hepburn's performances all the better. I could praddle on and on about why Bogart and Hepburn are so great in this film, but there are two key moments that sum it all up for me. Both may seem unordinary overall, but say all that needs to be said about the two characters. The first is when Rose, who has been calling (Bogart) "Mr. Allnut" for as long as she has known him, realizes she doesn't know his first name. He tells her "It's Charlie". She gets a big smile on her face and repeats "Charlie...that's a nice name". Something about her demeanor when she says that displays, to me, an extraordinary joy and affection, maybe even love, for Charlie that her words perhaps do not. Later, after Charlie and Rose have successfully navigated some white water rapids that seemed impossible to get through, Charlie grabs Rose, kisses her, and shouts "Hip Hip Horray!" Again, there's something about the way Bogart does it that conveys to me the same joy, affection and love for Rose that she did earlier when repeating his name.

Again, these two moments seem relatively insignificant in the context of the whole movie. But in my opinion, they make the movie. In this movie, as with most others, it's hard to give a damn about what characters say or do if you don't give a damn about them. And those moments make me care about these two characters in a way that I ordinarily never would. I shudder to think what results Bette Davis and David Niven, both fine actors, would have had with this film

The ending of the film is, of course, implausible. Without revealing anything, what are the odds of things happening as they did? But who cares. By the end, we as viewers should and would be ecstatic if Rose and Charlie were simply able to marry before their execution. The boat ultimately blowing up and both our heroes coming out married and alive is icing on the cake. The film ends with us knowing that despite what Keanu Reeves says, a relationship between two people who meet under extreme circumstances can work out.

Also, Robert Morley's brief performance as Rose's brother is memorable, as are most all of his performances. And Bogart scene with the leeches is as horrifying as the same scene in Stand By Me kids is funny.
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Classic Wartime Romantic Adventure.
AaronCapenBanner8 November 2013
John Huston directed this classic WWI romantic adventure that stars Humphrey Bogart as Riverboat Captain Charlie Allnut, an alcoholic and aging veteran of the river who is persuaded to lead pious Rose Sayer(played by Katharine Hepburn) by her missionary brother(played by Robert Morley) who is later beaten and left to die of fever by the German occupiers. Rose buries her brother, then sets out on the river journey, determined to avenge her brother's death(and do God's work) by tracking down and destroying a German submarine with a torpedo. Along the way, the mismatched couple connect and fall in love... Fine adventure with two perfectly cast stars at their best. Bogart won an overdue best actor Academy Award for his wonderful performance, with superb direction making this an authentic and memorable journey indeed, overcoming the predictable(yet believable) inevitability of the romance.
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