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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.

Director:

John Huston

Writers:

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

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Humphrey Bogart ... Charlie Allnutt
Katharine Hepburn ... Rose Sayer
Robert Morley ... The Brother / Rev. Samuel Sayer
Peter Bull ... Captain of Louisa
Theodore Bikel ... First Officer
Walter Gotell ... Second Officer
Peter Swanwick Peter Swanwick ... First Officer of Shona
Richard Marner ... Second Officer of Shona
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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:

Bogart the King is back with the 'Queen!' See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | German | Swahili

Release Date:

21 March 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

African Queen See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$536,118, 24 December 1967

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,750,000, 10 April 1990
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In Africa at that time, moving heavy film equipment and supplies was a tricky undertaking. The roads in the area were at best just narrow paths cut out between jungles. For shooting on the river, the crew built the steam-powered "African Queen" and another boat for towing the Queen with a generator, lights and reflector platforms; it was followed by a raft with heavy camera equipment and a small crew from Britain. They also built another raft with props and sound equipment; and finally a floating makeshift dressing room/toilet for Katharine Hepburn made with bamboo. Hepburn had insisted on having the privacy of a dressing room, but after having it dragged up the river several times it was clear that it was totally impractical, so she valiantly gave it up. See more »

Goofs

In some close-ups of the African Queen, her name is painted in white letters. Other shots show the name of the boat in black lettering. See more »

Quotes

[repeated line]
Rose Sayer: Mr. Allnut?
Charlie Allnut: Yes, miss.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #26.21 (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

God of Grace and God of Glory (Cwm Rhondda)
(uncredited)
Words by Harry Fosdick
Music by John Ceiriog Hughes
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

If some one remakes this, I'm sending out a posse.
17 August 2000 | by Kayt RSee all my reviews

To face a script in which most of the plot revolves around the dialogue of only two people in one location must be terrifying. Thank goodness for Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. John Huston's adaptation of C.S. Forester's The African Queen was solid. And the decision to film on location in Africa helped develop the concept of nature as a viable character within the plot helps solidify the film. But without Katharine Hepburn, and Humphry Bogart, this film could have been reduced to a nice little travelog on the beauty and terror of African and the pretty animals living there. Within The African Queen each character undergoes metamorphosis. Charlie Alnutt grows from an apathetic man who enjoys the inside of a bottle, to a courageous man. Rosie in turn allows herself to be human, and vulnerable perhaps for the first time in her life. With lesser actors these changes would have appeared rushed, unexplained,and a dull beginning to an inexplicable romance. But it isn't. It's a captivating film. Rosie's brittle smile, Charlie's face as his vices are destroyed, these are moments of brilliance in an incredible film. I highly recommend it.

It's also worth noting that this was not an easy film to make. These performances survived crew and cast illnesses, constant mechanical errors and inclement weather. For more about the conditions it was created under, I suggest you read Katherine Hepburn's The Making of The African Queen or How I went to Africa with Bogart, Bacall and Huston and almost lost my mind. She's not the sanest author in the world, but all the more enjoyable.


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