The African Queen (1951 – Blu-Ray)

“It’s a great thing to have a lady aboard with clean habits. It sets the man a good example. A man alone, he gets to living like a hog”

Next in my run through of Bogey classics is 1951’s ‘The African Queen’ which sits in the AFI’s top hundred films of all time.  It’s kinda like an anti ‘Apocalypse Now’, in this sweet tale two lonely souls fall in love as they traverse the dangers of a Jungle river, where as in the similarly Jungle river bound ‘Apocalypse Now’ the characters just go insane and start chopping of people’s heads!  So a tip for tourists; African river trip = romance / Cambodian river trip = plunge into nether regions of hell.

Unusually for the period, half of the film was shot on location in African and it was really worth the poisonous water, hornet attacks, illness and plagues of soldier ants that beset the crew.  As the Jungle scenery is gorgeously shot by master cinematographer Jack Cardiff, who gives the film a lushly colourful, painterly quality.  Humphrey Bogart’s performance as curmudgeonly riverboat Captain Charlie Allnut rightly won him the Oscar but Katharine Hepburn should’ve also received a gong for her portrayal of closeted Missionary Rose Sayer.  The Blu-Ray transfer is awe-inspiring and ranks alongside ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ and ‘Gone With The Wind’ as the best presentations I’ve seen on the format.  You can almost reach out and touch the African foliage, bare the searing heat  and feel the bristles of Bogey’s stubble.

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