Thursday, June 16, 2016

African Queen - Movie Review

Again, a movie at breakneck speed with some big names - John Huston directed this movie with Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. From the word go, the movie grabs you and that's what good movies and books should do.

So the first scene has this missionary brother and sister conducting a sermon in a small church in German East Africa keeping their flock together. Their efforts are disturbed by the arrival of 'The African Queen' a boat that delivers mail and supplies, manned by the coarse Canadain captain Charlie Allnut (Bogart). Bogart, informs the duo that war has broken out between the Germans and English. Before the brother and sister can act, German soldiers arrive and burn the village, capture the natives and wound the brother, who dies.

Charlie returns, helps the sister bury the brother, and tells her to escape with him on the 'African Queen'. On the boat, the resilient spinster hatches a plan and coaxes Allnut to use the 'African Queen' as a torpedo boat and sink the lone German ship which is the main impediment for British armies to cross over and help. Many obstacles later - fearsome rapids, German forts, reeds. mosquitoes, leeches - they sight the German boat on the lake and head for it full steam. But before they succeed in their heroic effort, they find the African Queen overturning in the storm. The Germans capture them and are about to hang them when Bogart requests the captain to marry them before they die. Quite the hero! In the meanwhile, the boat hits the overturned African Queen which does its job and blows up the German boat. The happy couple swin away to safety.

Delightful tale. Its based on a novel of the same name by C.S. Forester. A lingering love story between Bogart and Hepburn in all its dignity, the lady's complete dedication to sinking the German ship against all odds and the gentleman's reluctant but total submission to her will, makes the 'African Queen' a great watch. It's interesting to read about John Huston the director and the many wonderful movies he made and acted in, his persona. They were people with gumption and character, intelligence and action. Perfect role models. Look at what we have today.

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