The African Queen (1951) – John Huston

The thing I am truly loving about DK Canada’s The Movie Book is that as I work my way through the titles and recommendations, I get to revisit films that I may have seen before, but never had a chance to cover for the blog. And that gives me a great opportunity to catch up with old friends.

And that happened with the recommendation of Aguirre the Wrath of God. Having previously reviewed that one for the blog, I moved onto the What Else to Watch list, and was delighted to revisit the old friends of Humphrey Bogart (who won an Oscar for his role in this film) and Katherine Hepburn in The African Queen.

Based on the book by C.S. Forester, the film, set in 1914, follows Charlie Allnut (Bogart), a Canadian who is keen on the drink, and is in German East Africa piloting a supply boat, The African Queen, up and down the river. He makes regular calls on a small village being ministered to by a pair of missionaries, Reverend Samuel Sayer (Robert Morley) and his sister, Rose (Hepburn).

When a German squad rolls in and destroys the village, and claims the life of the reverend, Charlie is just in time to rescue Rose, and the pair set off on an escape, as they clash with one another, it doesn’t take much to see that their rocky relationship will no doubt blossom into something else.

The African Queen Hepburn and Bogart

With Rose being the clever one, she comes up with a plan to not only get them down the river, but with a plan to destroy the German ship that is blocking their escape.

Filled with lots of humor, excitement and location work in Africa, this film remains eminently enjoyable. Bogart feels perfectly on point with his portrayal and the chemistry he shares with Hepburn is palatable.

I love Allnut’s arc, and I love how the story plays out, and the climax of the film feels picture perfect, as it culminates with a confrontation against the Germans, and a wonderful tying up bow on the relationship between Rose and Charlie.

This one remains an enduring classic, it is funny, entertaining, filled with adventure and fun dialogue, and two stars turning in great performances.

I love a good Bogart film, and this one may very well be near the top of my list as a favorite. This is a fun, old time Hollywood film that is suitable for all members of the family, and one that everyone can get something out of.

DK Books’ The Movie Book continues to entertain! Pick one up for yourself and find a new favorite classic to watch tonight!



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