THE AFRICAN QUEEN (Theatrical Release USA 1951)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.0|5.0 Starsìììì

The African Queen—
a great show that wants so badly to be a classic—allows Humphrey Bogart an opportunity to break usual character by moving away from suave into the rough and uncultured. He does a great job making this transformation with all the appropriate mannerisms, speech, and attitude; but, he doesn’t seem comfortable with his lines. Katherine Hepburn surprises with her gung-ho, ‘Let’s get the enemy and take ‘im down ‘cause it’s so exciting and I’ve never lived until now’ approach to this story. And, Robert Morley as Reverend Sayer does the most laughable, unrealistic death scene, outside of black and white movie scenes, ever seen onscreen.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia


Charlie Allnut (Humphrey Bogart) delivers cargo by boat to villages lining an African river. During World War II, Germans destroy a village served by Reverend Samuel Sayer (Robert Morley). Charlie Allnut volunteers to help the Reverend’s surviving sister, Rose Sayer (Katharine Hepburn). They begin a dangerous voyage downriver and the story is up and running to include open warfare with a German fort, running rapids, and dealing with dangerous beasts.

Additional Thanks

Good Work for Director John Huston. Thank you to Producers Sam Spiegel and John Woolf for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Captain of the Louisa (Peter Bull), First Officer (Theodore Bikel), Second Officer (Walter Gotell), First Officer of the Shona (Peter Swanwick), Second Officer of the Shona (Richard Marner), Native Soldier (Errol John), Petty Officer (Gerald Onn), and German Officer (John von Kotze).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Maybe. The film has its points, but the action doesn’t compare with today’s movies and the love story borders on bland.

Video Critique Available Here:

Ben Meyers

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