The African Queen

I feel it is my duty to say this…

The African Queen is a shit film. Just cos it’s got Bogart in it and it’s from the early 50s, don’t mean it’s got class.

It must have some kind of ‘classic’ status, though, or else I wouldn’t have gotten fooled into renting it. I was expecting something along the lines of Casablanca or an Orson Welles film of the era. Instead, where those films are dialogue-based, smart and shot in beautiful b&w, this film is kind of a proto action film – bad special effects, stilted cheesey script and a far-fetched, pointless plot.

I figure it gets more respect than it deserves because (a) at the time, filming a movie on location in Africa must’ve been pretty out-there (it’s got hippos in it), and (b) Katherine Hepburn was no doubt a ‘ballsy’ leading lady for the time. But make no mistake – this film does not measure up. In fact, it was closer to being so-bad-it-was-good, than being good-good. See The Big Sleep instead. Now, that’s good-good. Actually, it’s great-great.

What’s the lesson here? Howard Hawks good, John Huston bad? 1940s good, 1950s bad? Answers on the back of a postcard please…


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