Friday, October 8, 2010

'The African Queen' Open Thread

What did you think?


  1. Just seeing these screen shots reminds of the fabulousness of "African Queen." Neither one of them appears overwhelmingly attractive, especially by the superficial standards of today.
    But wow, did these two have passionate chemistry or what?

    You have reminded me that I wanted to put this on my Amazon Wishlist at some point. In the meantime I must rent and watch it again.

  2. Well do, and then drop us a line about what you thought of it. It's great fun!!

  3. The movie is better than the book in this case (imho).

  4. Okay, Jill... so... why sit on the sidelines? Rent a copy, give it a watch and let us know what you thought! We all want to know!!

    : )

  5. And no going by memory of what you thought about it fifteen years ago. You've got to watch it with us, and tell us what you think... hopefully underscoring what you liked about it (because somebody did pick it and thought it was worth sharing).

  6. I remember this title not being available on my netflix several years ago when I was going through a classic movie phase. Sad, considering the prominence of both actors in their time and how well regarded both Hepburn and Bogart are to this day--not to mention the fact that this film was an Oscar winner. Such is the concern we Americans show for what heritage we have, especially when it comes to Hollywood.

  7. D, quit worrying. It's tops on my Netflix queue and should be here to play by Tuesday.

    We will all watch it next week together!!

  8. I watched it today (Saturday). I don't know what I'll do when they shut down the internet.

    When you do get the DVD, watch for the location shooting in Uganda. While much of the African jungle was recreated at Worton Hall Studios, Worton Road in Isleworth, southwest London--now the Worton Hall Industrial Estate--there were lots of location pick-ups so that John Huston could go playing GWH trying to bag elephants. That was covered in the book by Peter Viertel and the movie of the same name, White Hunter, Black Heart by Clint Eastwood. Pay careful attention and note that Robert Morley really isn't in the African First Methodist Church at Kungdu, but in the London studio double. Hepburn is in Africa, though. Look for the stand-in with Hepburn's scenes at the church.

    The real African Queen, made for the film, is still with us--in Key Largo, Florida, if you'd like to visit. The model used in the waterfall scene and elsewhere (without spoiling) was made by monks at the monastery at Ponthierville in Democratic Republic of the Congo (nuns made model-Bogart and model-Hepburn). The Gordon's dry gin was real, though. Don't know if the labels and the crates are appropriate for September 1914, though. But I bet somebody does.

  9. About the stand-in for Morley. That's when he and Hepburn are in the same frame, of course. The real Morley is in the cross cuts.

  10. I watched it today (Saturday).

    Well, there isn't going to be any cocoa 'til Tuesday, so you're just going to have to watch it again with the rest of us!

  11. I fulfilled my obligation. There's so much to keep current with, you know. I'll have the virtual mini marshmallows at the ready for Tuesday. And the sea salt, for those wishing to add a bit to intensify the experience. Oddly, that does work. A mini-scoop of vanilla ice cream, for those not quite as adventurous will also be available. Virtually.

  12. Movie to arrive tomorrow. Comments from Jim to follow. You guys can start in as you please.

  13. Nice little movie with a tight plot line. The central theme might be you don't know what you can or can not do until you try it. Just hope that everything goes your way like it did for these two.

    It's another one of those movies I haven't see for a long time--I'm going to say it was the 60s, although I might have watched it part of it with a date in the 80s. The first thing that struck me on this viewing was how frail and unglamourous both stars looked. The second epiphany came when I did a little figuring with the dates and facts. Hepburn was 44, Bogart was 52 when this was made. Mon Dieu!
    Just as Glenda Jackson was in our last outing, Hepburn is just at the outside end of my dating range! When did I become the old fart? (Vieux con, for the sensitive among us.) Is that why I view the actors differently now?

    With all the implausibilities, I still found this all totally believable. I can belive that love did come and we can each be part of some greater plan, with no more control of our destiny than this launch in these turbulent waters. Why not get married right before the noose goes around our necks?

    Doing a little searching, I saw that Fess Parker owned The African Queen was owned by Fess
    Parker for a number of years! Talk about coming around full circle from The Searchers. Nothing is a coincidence.

    Now where's that hot chocolate?

  14. I absolutely loved this show. It had been years since I had seen it, and a bit of the more subtle things had completely escaped me earlier. I absolutely loved Humphrey Bogart. His Charlie was so gentlemanly and charming. The scene where he sits down to tea with Rosie and her brother.... the brother so very rude - sitting there reading the paper, ignoring his guest, commenting on the careers of others more fortunate or gifted than himself - utterly tiresome. And his poor sister - dragging her out into the middle of the African bush, and for what? That opening scene with Katherine Hepburn and her brother leading the congregation in worship - forcing what the brother was familiar and comfortable with onto people that had no idea what the words meant that he was trying to get them to sing. Pathetic self-focus.

    But Charlie was upbeat and cheerful. He looked like a real good egg. And Katherine Hepburn's Rosie was so determined, she made Charlie try and succeed. I just loved their interplay, and the gradual realization of affection between them. And the striving to pull the boat through the reeds. The leeches - yikes - they totally creeped me out years ago, and still do today. The look on Rosie's face when she knows Charlie has to go back over the side, and his sad look of grim determination, their resignation when they are stuck and ill and can't go any further, the pull away to show how close they came ... and then the saving rain. It was great. Oh, and her brusque manner with the Germans "Stop doing that!" And when she realizes they are going to hang Charlie, she is determined to tell those superior minded German's how they had planned to destroy their gunboat. She was grand...just grand. Even Charlie got taken up in it, explaining how he went about designing the explosive charges to destroy them. Great stuff. And I loved his request that the captain marry them. The German captain is amazed at the foolishness of it, complies, and then barks out "Proceed with the hanging". That was good comedy. And the happy coincidence of the Mary Louis running along its same rout and ramming the half submerged African Queen.

    Yes, it was all grand. The DVD I had included an special feature on the making of the African Queen, and that was very good as well.

    That was a real treat.

  15. I am so glad you guys enjoyed this. It's been probably 10 years since I saw it the second time; the first time was in college, shortly after "discovering" Humphrey Bogart. I had seen Casablanca, To Have and Have Not and The Big Sleep, and though I liked Bogart, I had begun to assume he played only one style of character. Then he shows up at the mission, all relaxed and jovial aboard The African Queen, and I was so intrigued! And the scene at tea, "Mr Allnut" gamely trying to wait out the interminable pouring-out, and "Miss" attempting (though not hard enough) to not notice his uncouth stomach. Humphrey Bogart, deferential, trying to keep up small talk!

    Jim, you hit on something I love about this movie -- that light shone on the ostensible "class" of the educated Sayers, so careless of Allnut's claim to their hospitality; and the innate courtesy on Alllnut's part, doing his best to honor his hosts.

    That natural courtliness appears over and over. His solicitude with Miss Sayer as she boards his boat, his consistently pleasant responses to her odd questions, (his cordial acquiescence to the lady's demand that they try to "torpedo" the Louisa!), his efforts to accommodate her habits and provide for her privacy. Charlie Allnut is not genteel; his is a natural gentleman.

    As enjoyable as it is to watch Rose Sayer discover this about Charlie Allnut, I love watching Rose discover herself. Her delight in the novel experience of feeling excitement, when they come through the first rapids, is one of my absolute favorite moments in the movie.

    And of course, watching Charlie discover Rose -- her vision, her determination, her complete embrace of every physical effort that was required -- and discovering that the "skinny old maid" was full of surprises. And I love that moment with Charlie stoking the engine after that celebratory kiss, suddenly realizing that everything has changed. (Such a funny parallel to the earlier moment of engine-stoking when he's bitterly replaying Rose's imperious directions.)

    Their ordeal in "the reeds" (Can anyone who's seen this movie NOT remember the leeches?), Rose's defiance with the Captain, Charlie's request that he marry them, so many great bits. But the scene I love best is the two of them talking through how to repair the damage done to the boat in the big rapids. Both open to each other's comments, evaluating and weighing suggestions, working out solutions together. Rose seeing possibilities that didn't occur to Charlie, and Charlie open to them, laughing and admiring all at once. Yet in other scenes they are are starry-eyed and giddy and tender in their new love, and supportive and caring about each other's weaknesses. No fairy-tale ever suggested such a perfect partnership.

    On an only virtually related matter, you might get a kick out of this.

  16. The central theme might be you don't know what you can or can not do until you try it

    I love that.

  17. "But the scene I love best is the two of them talking through how to repair the damage done to the boat in the big rapids."

    Yes, that was very good moment. She gently pushing them forward, yet deferential to Charlie. He willing to try to pull off what she is asking, and just enjoying that she would even ask it.

    Watching, there was a part of me that wasn't sure about his going along with her somewhat forceful schemes. So a fav for me was the clarity that came at the moment when he was lying on the lower deck, sick with fever, believing he would die there and that they both were at the end of the line, and it was so important for him to tell Rosie, with energy and commitment:

    "It was worth it"

    He wasn't being bullied in the run down the river. He was so glad that they had done it together, even though they failed. Great moment.

  18. Well Darrell, what might be your pleasure?

  19. Well Darrell, what might be your pleasure?

    For Cathy to come back and start commenting at her usual frequency.

    Not on the menu? OK, then. I think I'll change things up and go with a movie that I'm pretty sure you haven't seen--few have-- The Zero Effect It's a quirky detective movie starring Bill Pullman, Ben Stiller, and Kim Dickens. It may be the best performances by those first two. A bit of course language at two discrete points in the film-- mostly, but a clever plot and interesting performances. And that character's name is purely besides the point-just in case you were thinking that was the reason for this selection.

    If that's not doable, let's go with Iron Man.

  20. Very good. Should be ready to go by Tuesday.

  21. For Cathy to come back and start commenting at her usual frequency

    Hey, you know about that whole "Watch out what you wish for" thing, right?

    I know, I know, I'm holding up progress! But I'll get caught up at the beginning of the week.

    Zero Effect sounds like fun! Should be Tuesday for me, too.