“The African Queen,” The Riverboat Queen

Why were four men (two of them uncredited) necessary for creating the script for The African Queen (1951)—an adaptation of a novel yet? I don’t know, but no wonder the script is so palatable. One of the writers, John Huston, did some soundly inspired directing of the film, and of the actors. Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, both sublime, play good people—one a riverboat operator, the other a missionary—in Africa as WWI commences.

The force and threat of a big river is a nifty subject in this entertaining adventure. What’s more, the movie is a terrific travelogue of nature as filmed in such places as Lake Albert and Murchison Falls in Uganda. Pleasingly, the shots of animals—lions, hippos, crocodiles—for which yesterday’s Hollywood didn’t have much patience are offered respectfully in Queen.

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