AFI 100 Progress: The African Queen
“Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above.”
With Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn.
The African Queen is the cream of the crop of all those adventure-dramas that Hollywood used to do so well. The movie follows Bogart and Hepburn (in their only film together) as they chase down a German warship during WWI in hopes of sinking it with some homemade torpedos. Along the way, we see the relationship between them develop from its combative beginnings to a surprisingly believable romance. The coloration is spotty and inconsistent and there are some obvious superimpositions of waterfalls and various creatures, but I’m sure that was a non-issue in 1951. The more important thing is that the movie features some stellar action sequences, especially for its time.
Bogart has bored me in all the other movies I’ve seen him in, but he really worked for me here. There’s a scene where he’s drunk and uses phrases like “anyone in their might rind” where he is just hilarious. He won his only Oscar for this role, beating Marlon Brando’s performance in A Streetcar Named Desire in the process. That’s pretty impressive.
RIYL: To Have and Have Not, Indiana Jones movies, swashbuckling.