Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The African Queen (1951)

I have always heard good things about "The African Queen".  People say it is one of the best films ever made and after viewing it for the first time, I have to agree.

Katherine Hepburn plays a missionary in Africa during World War I.  Germany has invaded her camp and destroys it.  All of the villagers are taken as slaves, but the Germans leave Hepburn and her ailing brother behind.  After her brother dies from his wounds, Hepburn decides to leave the camp with Humphrey Bogart, who plays the captain of a small boat called The African Queen.  The two come up with a plan to use gas tanks on board as torpedos to bomb a nearby German ship responsible for the invasion.  During their journey, Bogart and Hepburn fall for each other and they decide if it is worth their lives to attack the German ship.

There is one scene that I really liked in particular.  During their journey, they enter an area of heavy brush.  The only way to get the boat through is for Bogart to get in the river and actually pull it.  After a long while of pulling, they realize that there is nowhere to go.  They give up.  Hepburn then makes a very emotional prayer to God asking Him to welcome her and Bogart into Heaven.  During the night, it starts to rain heavily and the rains create a new flow in the river leading them to their destination.  Divine Intervention indeed... 

Bogart and Hepburn both do fantastic jobs in their roles.  Bogart won Best Actor in 1951 for this role.  It is his only Oscar and boy did he deserve it.  He sort of reminded me as a version of Quint from "Jaws".  

By the way, this movie inspired Walt Disney to create The Jungle Cruise at Disneyland.

A  I recommend it.

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