Saturday, November 21, 2009

THE AFRICAN QUEEN (1951)

1914. Katharine Hepburn and her brother are missionaries in Africa. They've been there for 10 years, living a peaceful existence with the natives (brainwashing them in exchange for food and shelter) when suddenly German soldiers come marching in, round up all of the villagers and burn everything to the ground! It seems that a huge War has started and they didn't even know anything about it. Katharine's brother is beaten and soon dies from his wounds. A few hours after her brother's death the guy (a scraggly Humphrey Bogart) who delivers supplies and the mail shows up on his ragged little boat. Naturally he takes Katharine with him and she, being furious with the German, takes over Bogart's life and insists that they travel many miles down the river through rapids and wild animals and solders and countless other dangers in order to make his boat into floating bomb and crash it into a giant German ship that's protecting the river opening!!!! Holy fuck! That's some crazy shit, but Bogart has a severe case of blue balls so he agrees.

The story is interesting, but the main attraction here's the two leads. Bogart and Hepburn are great and both turn in some of the very best performances of their careers and that's really saying something! Especially Bogart, some of Bogart's facial expressions are just perfect. He captures this role to the point that I cannot even think of somebody else doing it. Thinking of somebody else in this role is like thinking of Indiana Jones played by Bud Kort.

My one small complaint is the ending was too abrupt. There was a lot of action and BAM!!! it's over, get the fuck out of the theater. That happens a lot with older films, but still I wish there bad been just something small at the end to kinda give you an indication of what might happen next. If you like exciting classic cinema then I say check it out!