Saturday, July 14, 2012
15 of 1001 Movies: The African Queen (1951)
During World War 1, Rose is a missionary gets caught up in the cross hairs of Germans taking natives captive to make them soldiers. After loosing her brother after the attack, Rose has to team up with rough house captain of The African Queen, Charlie in hopes of taking on a German gunboat. Directed by John Huston.
I saw this was a movie made in the 50s set in Africa, so I wasn't sure how this was going to go. Thankfully, it actually went really well. The African Queen was quite action packed, and romantic. It definitely had the cinematic epic feel of the 50s. Also, the acting draws you in. I genuinely cared about these characters by the end of the movie even though I felt sure nothing would happen to them.
Earlier I watched Katharine Hepburn star in Adam's Rib, and now she is in a bit of a different role as a missionary during World War 1. Humphrey Bogart doesn't seem like your typical leading man, or at least not to me. He has chemistry with the lead actress though, so it completes the story of their romance quite well. Since these two are stranded in Africa there aren't many other characters though. At the beginning we have Rosy's brother, and then a few German soldiers.
I can only imagine the obstacles with effects, and the action they were trying to capture in this movie. Most of this movie, actually almost all of it, was on a boat. Meaning they were cruising down some rough rivers on their journey. For some of this it was actually shot in Africa, and then some of it you can tell was shot in the studio in London. The scenes that were shot with a screen behind it are well blended into the rest of the movie though you can still tell it. The only cheesy bit for me is when the actors are pretending to interact with animals they see going down the river. It's like all the animals decided to hang out there at one time yet all in their separated territories.
This movie was more enjoyable that I could have expected it to be. I found it surprisingly romantic, and at times even intense. The actors also had good chemistry, which moved the film along. I can see why they were winners of Oscars for their roles in this movie.
Rating 4 of 5.