Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The African Queen (1951) Classic Movie Review

The African Queen (1951) PosterBogart in colour!! Well that's a different opening line! But yeah that's the first thing that came in my head when I started watching this. The movie that finally gave old Bogey that well needed and deserved Oscar for best actor (or am I just biased that he is my favourite).

A movie with the greatest Actor and greatest Actress off all time (in my view) together at last, was bound to be a marvelous film and good news Bogey and Katharine Hepburn don't let us down. These two are sensational together, I had hoped they would be but wow the fireworks between them both is just phenomenal. Katharine Hepburn playing the fiery strong willed woman (always the best for them type of roles) who even with eyes full of tears is still strong, the perfect counter to Bogarts stubborn and rouge like captain of his own destiny.

The setting is Africa and Bogart takes Hepburn on-board his little steam vessel the "African Queen", this is because the Nazis have destroyed her church. We follow their journey trying to avoid the Germans, to get back home, but all is not as easy as that. Katharine Hepburn's Character wants Bogey to build a Torpedo to destroy the main German vessel, to aid the allied nations in the fight against the Germans, but this means sacrificing his own "African Queen". Will he do it who knows?

The conflicting personalities for one thing just keep them both clashing, they are both so masterful, some great scenes involve Bogart muttering about her under his breath will he's stoking a fire I love it. They have to live together on this little boat, you can imagine what happens. Let's say watching these two conflicting is like seeing their own version of the war! I love seeing characters in films forced into situations where they have to be with someone who they can't stand, even more so if its two strong willed characters let the fireworks commence. One stand out scene Hepburn embarrassingly trying to get back into the boat after a swim, Bogart has to help her "Close your eyes" she says to him in embarrassment, I just love it. Poor Bogart has to stay in the rain at one point because of her stubbornness, and he's so polite to her, when you know what he really thinks ha ha. Like all films like this they do grow to get on with each other, the entertainment is all the buildup and tension between them both.

The Cinematography in this film is breathtaking, there is one or two green screen in studio shots, but for the most this was filmed on location in Africa, Hepburn even released a Diary of her exploits in Africa with Bogart and his wife, Lauren Bacall. Africa looks fantastic, well the scenes they show not from studio footage. For the most we follow this boat down a real river in Africa its wonderful. Its great to just sit back and watch these two having their African adventure, the ups, the downs, the wildlife, the scenery, it all just backs up a brilliant movie.

This film obviously influenced more movies of its like for example Father Goose with Cary Grant (1964) is very similar, but that too is a great film once again two conflicting personalities, a boat and the drink going missing, just like this film.

I really enjoy this film, its great to see American Film Institute's number one Actor and Actress in something together, just like the AFI these two in my view were the greatest of all time, it may not be either of theirs best film, but to see them together is just wonderful.
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