The African Queen (PG) - 1951 - Runtime: 105 minutes
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn
Director: John Huston
This one took forever to come out on DVD, even though it's considered in the top 50 of AFI's Top 100! Who knew? But it finally came out a few months ago and I had to watch because I love adventures, especially in Africa or South America, they're so mysterious and foreign to me that I'm always quite fascinated. So it was with great pleasure that I sat down to watch The African Queen, hoping for a great adventure. Unfortunately, the movie is not so adventurous, more like a slow death march (quite literally) to the end.
The African Queen is a boat owned by Charlie Allnut, who trades supplies up and down the river in Africa. He provides local provisions to a missionary run by the Sayers, a brother and sister team who have decided to stay in the village despite the oncoming threat of World War I. Of course, the village is invaded and subsequently burned and Samuel is struck with fever and dies. Rose Sayer enlists the help of Charlie and they embark down the river. But she has plans to attack the Germans rather than just escape. Of course, hijinks ensue and the river hides many dangers. Needless to say, the movie plods along and I really couldn't follow half of it. At one point they were going to make torpedoes and attack a gunboat, but they instead get shot upon by a German outpost along the river and miraculously survive. Other stuff happens, but it's too dull to recount here. And all along the way, the ruff and rugged Charlie begins to shed his cold exterior and falls for the prissy and uptight Rose. I just didn't get it - it all seemed too fragmented. Nothing really flowed or gelled to me. It seemed that they fell in love because that's what people do when they're left alone, fighting for their survival on a boat. Duh! I think the acting was great, just the fun and excitement was not there!
I really don't understand how this movie has earned such accolades. I think there's been better movies that have expanded upon this idea and have perfected it (Indiana Jones comes to mind, where the action is awesome and the romance is more tangible). I don't think this deserves a recommendation, even though the movie seems to have much love from all the critics!
Rating: Not Worth Paying For!