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The Critics Corner: THE AFRICAN QUEEN

Sunday August, 11 2019 at 08:00 PM

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AWARDS AND HONORS

The African Queen was nominated for 4 Academy Awards including Best Actor (Humphrey Bogart), Best Actress (Katharine Hepburn), Best Director (John Huston) and Best Screenplay (James Agee and John Huston). Humphrey Bogart won for Best Actor.

In 1994 it was selected by the Library of Congress for inclusion in the National Film Registry.

It was named #17 on AFI's 100 Greatest Movies List and #14 on AFI's 100 Greatest Love Stories List and #48 on AFI's Most Inspiring Movies list.

THE CRITIC'S CORNER – THE AFRICAN QUEEN (1951)

"Just offbeat enough in story, locale and star teaming of Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn to stimulate the imagination. It is a picture with an unassuming warmth and naturalness that can have a bright box office chance through good selling and word-of-mouth...Performance-wise, Bogart has never been seen to better advantage. Nor has he ever had a more knowing, talented film partner than Miss Hepburn." – New York Times.

"(Huston's) lively screen version...is a slick job of movie hoodwinking with a thoroughly implausible romance, set in a frame of wild adventure that is as whopping as its tale of offbeat love. And the main tone and character of it are in the area of the well-disguised spoof...there is beauty and excitement...While the hardships were said to be oppressive, he and his producer, S.P. Eagle (Sam Spiegel), have been repaid. Their picture is doubly provided with the insurance of popularity." – The New York Times.

"Filmed in the Congo, the movie, rich in pictorial beauty, is virtually a Technicolor cook's tour of jungle wonders, further enriched by performances unmatched by anything Hepburn and Bogart have yet contributed to the screen. The African Queen is one of the best pictures of the year-a mature, deeply touching, adult romance linked to a first-rate thriller." --Cue.

"The movie is not great art, but it is great fun. Essentially it is one long, exciting, old-fashioned movie chase. Filmed in the Belgian Congo and Uganda by Director John Huston, it tells its adventure yarn in a blaze of Technicolor, fine wild scenery and action. Bogart, cast as a Canadian instead of a Cockney, does the best acting of his career as the badgered rumpot who becomes a man and a lover against his will. Katharine Hepburn is excellent as the gaunt, freckled, fanatic spinster. Their contrasting personalities fill the film with good scenes, beginning with Bogart's tea-table agony as the indelicate rumbling of his stomach keeps interrupting missionary Robert Morley's chitchat about dear old England." --Time.

"Impossible to deny this film's entertainment value, even if it's hardly the great classic it's often claimed to be...A witty script by James Agee (from C. S. Forester's novel) and fine colour photography by Jack Cardiff help to counteract the basically contrived and implausible nature of the story." - Geoff Andrew, TimeOut Film Guide.

"...it is one of the most charming and entertaining movies ever made...The story, set in central Africa in 1914, is so convincingly acted that you may feel a bit jarred at the end; after the lovers have brought the boat, the African Queen, over dangerous rapids to torpedo a German battleship, Huston seems to stop taking the movie seriously." - Pauline Kael, 5001 Nights at the Movies.

"Despite some unfortunate studio sets mixed in with real African footage achieved through great hardship by all concerned, this is one of those surprising films that really work, a splendidly successful mixture of comedy, character and adventure." - Halliwell's Film & Video Guide.

"A sure-fire "feel-good" movie.....Fifty-three-year-old Bogart and 45-year-old Hepburn get sexier by the minute...this is perhaps the cinema's greatest romantic adventure which is set in the 20th century - films such as Romancing the Stone [1984] were greatly influenced by it." - Danny Peary, Guide for the Film Fanatic.

"The emphasis in the film is on the change in the characters of Rose and Charlie and on the stupidity of war. Bogart, in the role of the dissolute riverboat captain, gives a superb and many-layered performance....but he is more than matched by Hepburn's authoritative creation of the shy spinster; the scenes of their dawning love for each other are a delight. This is one of Huston's favorite films." - Georges Sadoul, Dictionary of Films.

Compiled by Andrea Passafiume & Jeff Stafford

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