joi, 20 iulie 2017

The African Queen, written by James Agee and C.S. Forester (based on the latter’s novel), directed by John Huston, 9 out of 10

The African Queen, written by James Agee and C.S. Forester (based on the latter’s novel), directed by John Huston
9 out of 10

Notes and thoughts on other books are available at:

The African Queen is a fabulous adventure, drama and romantic movie, with a charming touch of comedy.
It is included on The New York Times’ Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made list:

This is a narrative about phenomenal heroes.
Both of the protagonists are ultimate role models.

Humphrey Bogart has won the Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his fantastic work playing Charlie Allnut.
To start with, the captain of the boat named The African Queen does not strike the audience as a Superman.

In fact, Charlie Allnut looks like the total opposite of Rose Sayer, portrayed by the wondrous Katharine Hepburn.
Her brother, Reverend Samuel Sayer had his mission burned down by the Germans, who are now at war.

World War I has repercussions even in Africa, where the action of the film takes place and where many of the parties involved in conflict have colonies.
And the poor Reverend is also beaten and dies soon afterwards, his sister is there to bury him, but then she has to escape the enemy.

So she is off for the trip of her life, with her opposite, Charlie Allnut…here we have a case of “opposites attract”.
Nevertheless, this and most other sayings are silly and very wrong- take “all is fair in love and war” as a good case in point.

The story of the making of the film is nearly as exciting as the tale told on screen, by a fabulous director John Huston and his stars.
It appears that everyone got sick on this adventurous endeavor, with the exception of the director and the leading actor…

-          “Bogart later said, "All I ate was baked beans, canned asparagus and Scotch whiskey. Whenever a fly bit Huston or me, it dropped dead."

From the autobiographies, biographies and the recollections of members of the crew, we get humorous and some intriguing details…
Katharine Hepburn drank water, to protest the heavy drinking of the aforementioned duo and got very sick.

Locals hired to help the shooting did not come to the set because they feared their employers were…cannibals.
As for enjoying this perilous filming location, in The Heart of Darkness, the actors were as different as their personages:

-          “While I was griping, Katie was in her glory. She couldn't pass a fern or berry without wanting to know its pedigree…”

On screen, the story is captivating and transformation, which could actually be described as redemption takes place
And it involves both protagonists, Rose Sayer and Charlie Allnut change almost beyond recognition, after taking this trip together.
And to conclude, this is a superb film, with an extraordinary beautiful setting and a marvelous dialogue that only adds to the pleasure of watching two heavyweights, Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn at the top of their form:

-          “Charlie: We can't do that!
-          Rose: How do you know? You never tried it.
-          Charlie: Well, yeah, but I never tried shooting myself in the head neither…
-          Charlie Allnut: What are you being so mean for, Miss? A man takes a drop too much once in a while, it's only human nature.
-          Rose Sayer: Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above.”

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