The African Queen

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3 thoughts on “The African Queen

  1. 348 of 398 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    some helpful info about this release, February 1, 2007
    Dean Winiarski “guy with opinions” (Milwaukee, WI United States) –

    I’ll spare the review of the movie itself. If you’re reading this, you probably already know this movie is an absolute classic.

    There’s been some confusion about this release, so let me clear things up.

    Because of some of the things I read, I waited for a long time before finally ordering one of these for myself. Now I see there was no reason to hesitate.

    This is a “just fine” print of the movie. There’s nothing “wrong” with the picture or sound–aside from simply being a dated production that has not been “remastered” in any way.

    It’s basically the same thing you would get if you carefully dubbed a very good copy of the VHS tape to DVD (which may actually be what they did!).

    The picture and sound are basically as good as what you would have seen on your TV set back when this was first broadcast on network television. In other words, there are no “flaws” that would in any way distract from the enjoyment of the drama.

    Contrary to what another reviewer reported: Yes, the Chinese subtitles are on by default–BUT THEY CAN BE TURNED OFF. It’s easy to do.

    Someone was wishing that this release was “wide screen.” Sorry, but this would be IMPOSSIBLE. The movie was ORIGINALLY FILMED IN 4:3 RATIO. (“Wide screen” ratios did not exist until a few years after this movie was made.)

    I’d gladly give this title SIX STARS! But since I’m reviewing the technical merits of THIS SPECIFIC DVD RELEASE (rather than the artistic merits of the movie itself) I gave it four.

    Is this version a Chinese bootleg? I suppose it’s possible. These are put out by a small company in Hong Kong. But I took a chance, because unfortunately, it’s the only REGION-1 version of this movie on DVD right now. So until they come out with a better version, I’m glad I’ve got this one.

    Before Hollywood starts b****ing about bootlegging, they need extricate their heads from their collective ***es and get classics like this back in print. Until then, they should expect to get bootlegged, and it’s their own d*** fault.

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  2. 159 of 183 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    One of the most unique classics in Hollywood history, February 8, 2004
    Robert Moore (Chicago, IL USA) –
    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)

    This review is from: The African Queen (DVD)

    Familiarity can sometimes numb us to how very odd a movie is, and that is certainly the case with THE AFRICAN QUEEN. Most polls that have been done in recent years typically denote Humphrey Bogart as the greatest movie star of all time, and frequently Katherine Hepburn gets the number two slot (and always gets the number one slot for women). Yet, these roles are almost antithetical to everything else they ever did. Bogart, the great man of action of CASABLANCA and THE MALTESE FALCON and THE BIG SLEEP, is reduced to a dirty, disheveled, lewd, drunken captain of a remarkably inconsequential boat with the profoundly self-mocking name of “The African Queen.” Hepburn, who has made her career playing unbridled, liberated, and self-assertive modern women, here is a prudish (though only for a while), repressed, tightly wound spinster. But despite this highly unusual pairing, the film was one of the finest that either was ever in, netting Bogart his only Oscar (and unbelievably, only one of three nominations) and Hepburn what was something like her 200th Oscar nomination. It seems perverse that the only other two nominations were for Best Director (Huston) and screenplay (the great James Agee and Huston). I’m not sure how a film can get nominations for four of the top five awards and not get nominated for Best Picture, but it did (the five films nominated that year were the deserving AN AMERICAN IN PARIS [the winner], the somewhat censored A STREET CAR NAMED DESIRE, A PLACE IN THE SUN [which has not aged well], and the considerably less deserving QUO VADIS and DECISION BEFORE DAWN).

    Today we take filming on location for granted, but in the 1940s and 1950s, few producers and directors opted for filming on the spot upon which the film was supposed to take place. Films might go to a famous locale and shoot a couple of scenes for realistic flavoring, as with a couple of scenes in ON THE TOWN or AN AMERICAN IN PARIS. Many Westerns had been shot on location, but that was no great challenge given the close proximity of Hollywood to Western locales. John Huston had previously filmed THE TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE in Mexico, but going to the Congo and Uganda for extensive filming had rarely been attempted (sorry, all those Tarzan movies were filmed in California). It was a spectacular undertaking (which Katherine Hepburn recorded in a book she wrote about making THE AFRICAN QUEEN).

    There is a war plot that provides the setting for the film, but to be honest it really isn’t very important. What is crucial is the remarkable dynamics between Bogart and Hepburn, as they go from loathing one another, to liking, and then to loving. It has to be the most unlikely love story in the history of film, and yet somehow these two great actors not only manage to sell it, but make it quietly majestic. There is not much in the way of cast to speak of, apart from the two leads. Robert Morley manages a small but memorable part near the beginning of the film, but Bogart and Hepburn utterly dominate the film’s onscreen time. Luckily, they have no trouble pulling it off.

    As odd as this film was, there had been attempts to make it into a film for quite some time. If one is familiar with Bette Davis’s career, there had been a couple of attempts to film it with her in the lead with various leading men (including James Mason). But surely Katherine Hepburn is the perfect Rose Sayer. Like in THE PHILADELPHIA STORY, she can communicate self-righteousness better than anyone. Davis would only have managed egotistical haughtiness. But I’m sure everyone would agree that the casting ended up being for the best.

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  3. 85 of 96 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    One Of The Very Best, May 15, 2001
    AntiochAndy “antiochandy” (Antioch, CA USA) –

    This review is from: The African Queen [VHS] (VHS Tape)

    Bogart and Hepburn play two diametrically opposed personalities in this classic film set during World War I. She is a prim and proper, middle-aged English missionary. He is a gin-soaked river rat living by trading up and down the Congo River from a ramshackle old steamboat named The African Queen. They are thrown together by a German offensive that leaves them isolated and in danger of being captured and held as prisoners of war (or worse, they could be shot as spies). To escape, they must travel down the river past the Germans. What follows is part comedy, part tense drama, and part high adventure. The river and its wildlife pose as much of an obstacle as the Germans, and Bogart and Hepburn must not only learn to get along, but to trust in, and rely on, each other to survive.

    This is a wonderful movie. The acting is superb (Bogie got an Oscar for “Best Actor”), the story is excellent, and the scenery is beautiful (it was shot on location). They just don’t make make them any better than this, and I can’t imagine any reason why anyone would NOT want this in their collection. Very highly recommended.

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