The African Queen US (1951): War/Romance/Adventure
105 min, No rating, Color
An inspired piece of casting brought Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn together. This is a comedy, a love story, and a tale of adventure, and it is one of the most charming and entertaining movies ever made. The director, John Huston, has written that the comedy was not present either in the novel by C.S. Forester or in the original screenplay by James Agee, John Collier, and himself, but that it grew out of the relationship of Hepburn and Bogart, who were just naturally funny when they worked together. Hepburn has revealed that the picture wasn't going well until Huston came up with the inspiration that she should think of Rosie as Mrs. Roosevelt. After that, Bogart and Hepburn played together with an ease and humor that makes their love affair-the mating of a forbidding, ironclad spinster and a tough, gin-soaked riverboat captain-seem not only inevitable, but perfect. The story, set in central Africa in 1914, is so convincingly acted that you may feel a bit jarred at the end; after the lovers have brought the boat, the African Queen, over dangerous rapids to torpedo a German battleship, Huston seems to stop taking the movie seriously. With Robert Morley as Hepburn's missionary brother, and Peter Bull. Cinematography by Jack Cardiff. Bogart's performance took the Academy Award for Best Actor. (Peter Viertel, who worked on the dialogue while the company was on location in Africa, wrote White Hunter, Black Heart-one of the best of all moviemaking novels-about his experiences with Huston.) Produced by Sam Spiegel, for United Artists.
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