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The African Queen Movie Review

huston bogart hepburn peter

John Huston cooperatively made films under the studio system between the ages of 35 and 45: five for Warner Bros., one for Columbia, and two for MGM. After chafing at the bit for a full decade, he wanted to make movies his way and without interference. (Huston's The Red Badge of Courage ended the 27-year reign of MGM's Louis B. Mayer, who lost a production dispute with Dore Schary in 1951.) Huston couldn't get much further away from Hollywood than the Belgian Congo, where he traveled with stars Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, and with Mrs. Bogart, Lauren Bacall. The African Queen, Huston's first film in Technicolor, set the standard for the hard-drinking, tough-living man's man who winds up opening his heart to an uptight missionary spinster. Their mutual goals and their gradually evolving love for each other transform them both. Robert Morley, Peter Bull, Theodore Bikel, and Walter Gotell also appear in small but key roles in this British-financed independent feature, the first of five in a row Huston made outside of Hollywood. There's no question that The African Queen would have been a much different movie (less real and less exciting) if it had been shot on a studio back lot. It gave Bogie his one and only Oscar, and created a whole new image for Hepburn, one that she maintained for over 45 years. Based on the novel by C.S. Forester.

1951 105m/C GBHumphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, Robert Morley, Theodore Bikel, Peter Bull, Walter Gotell, Peter Swanwick, Richard Marner; D: John Huston; W: John Huston, James Agee; C: Jack Cardiff. Academy Awards ‘51: Best Actor (Bogart); Nominations: Academy Awards ‘51: Best Actress (Hepburn), Best Director (Huston), Best Screenplay. VHS, LV

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