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The African Queen (1951)

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In Africa during World War I, a gin-swilling riverboat captain is persuaded by a strait-laced missionary to use his boat to attack an enemy warship.

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(novel), (adapted for the screen by) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
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The Brother / Rev. Samuel Sayer
...
...
...
Peter Swanwick ...
...
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Storyline

September 1914, news reaches the colony German Eastern Africa that Germany is at war, so Reverend Samuel Sayer became a hostile foreigner. German imperial troops burn down his mission; he is beaten and dies of fever. His well-educated, snobbish sister Rose Sayer buries him and leaves by the only available transport, the dilapidated river steamboat 'African Queen' of grumpy Charlie Allnut. As if a long difficult journey without any comfort weren't bad enough for such odd companions, she is determined to find a way to do their bit for the British war effort (and avenge her brother) and aims high, as God is obviously on their side: construct their own equipment, a torpedo and the converted steamboat, to take out a huge German warship, the Louisa, which is hard to find on the giant lake and first of all to reach, in fact as daunting an expedition as anyone attempted since the late adventurous explorer John Speakes, but she presses till Charlie accepts to steam up the Ulana, about to brave... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The greatest adventure a man ever lived...with a woman! See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, some violence and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

21 March 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

African Queen  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$536,118 (USA) (24 December 1967)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(as Colour by) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In a 2013 interview on the NPR program "Fresh Air," Anjelica Huston told interviewer Terry Gross about how her father, director John Huston, found out about her birth while he was at the remote jungle location for this film: "I was born at 6:29 p.m. on July 8, 1951, at the Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles. At 8 pounds, 13 ounces, I was a big, healthy baby. The news of my arrival was cabled promptly to the post office in the township of Butaleja in Western Uganda. Two days later a barefoot runner bearing a telegram finally arrived at Murchison Falls, a waterfall on the Nile, deep in the heart of the Belgian Congo, where 'The African Queen' was being filmed. My father, John Marcellus Huston, was a director renowned for his adventurous style and audacious nature. Even though it was considered foolhardy, he'd persuaded not only Katharine Hepburn, an actress in her prime, but also Humphrey Bogart, who brought along his famously beautiful wife, the movie star Lauren Bacall, to share the hazardous journey. My mother, heavily pregnant, had stayed behind in Los Angeles with my one-year-old brother, Tony Huston. When the messenger handed the telegram to my father, he glanced at it, then put it in his pocket. Katie Hepburn exclaimed, 'for God sakes, John, what does it say,' and dad replied: 'It's a girl. Her name is Anjelica.'" See more »

Goofs

As 'Charlie Allnut' taunts the hippos swimming toward The African Queen, a very distinct white edge can be seen around the boiler and pressure gauge behind him. In addition, Allnut is in focus, the boiler and pressure gauge behind him are out of focus, and the trees in the distance are sharply in focus. This is all evidence of an imperfectly executed matte shot, with Allnut and boiler in the foreground image and the trees in the background plate. See more »

Quotes

Charlie: We can't do that!
Rose: How do you know? You never tried it.
Charlie: Well, yeah, but I never tried shooting myself in the head neither.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: GERMAN EAST AFRICA September 1914 See more »

Connections

Referenced in Six Days Seven Nights (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Bold Fisherman
(uncredited)
Sung by Humphrey Bogart
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Don't Take This One For Granted
3 June 2005 | by (Biloxi, Mississippi) – See all my reviews

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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