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Monday, August 1, 2016

The African Queen (1951)

Set in 1914 German East Africa at the beginning of WWII, a missionary (Robert Morley) and his sister (Katharine Hepburn) run a small Methodist mission. But when German soldiers burn the village and her brother dies, she is rescued by the captain (Humphrey Bogart) of a beat up tramp steamer. Together, they navigate their way down the river to a fateful encounter with a German gunboat. Directed by John Huston, this is a grand entertainment! I don't think I've met anyone who didn't like THE AFRICAN QUEEN (though I'm sure they exist). In addition to being an exciting adventure, it's also a great romance between two unlikely people. Bogart and Hepburn have a great rapport in roles that seem tailor made for them. Beautifully shot in the (then) Belgian Congo by Jack Cardiff as well as sound stages in London, some of the rear projection shots are hopeless but easy to overlook when a movie is this good. There's not much I can say about this movie that hasn't been said by far more eloquent people. With Theodore Bikel and Peter Bull.

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