The boozing, smoking, cussing captain of a tramp steamer, Charlie Allnut, saves prim and proper Rose Sayer after her brother is killed by German soldiers at the beginning of World War I in Africa. Many quarrels later, the two set sail on the Ulonga-Bora in order to sabotage a German ship. Based on the 1935 novel by C.S. Forester, the wonderful combination of Hepburn and Bogie (who won an Oscar) makes this a thoroughly enjoyable blend of comedy and adventure. Later came the book (and Clint Eastwood film) White Hunter, Black Heart, which chronicled Peter Viertel's experiences observing Huston throughout the making of the picture.
THE AFRICAN QUEEN was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1994.
Much of the action was filmed on location in Africa, under grueling circumstances. Katharine Hepburn wrote a book about the adventure, entitled "The Making of the African Queen, or How I went to Africa with Bogart, Bacall and Huston and almost lost my mind".
Screenwriter Peter Viertel also wrote a book on the making of THE AFRICAN QUEEN. His effort, WHITE HUNTER, BLACK HEART, was made into a 1990 film by Clint Eastwood.
"...[The film] still sparkles thanks to one of film history's all-time casting coups..." (USA Today)
"Bogart is hilariously crusty as a hard-drinking river rat who journeys downriver on a rickety steamer with a prim missionary..." -- Grade: A (Entertainment Weekly)
"[A] peerless gem with a golden glow." (Wall Street Journal)
"Hollywood classics don't get much more classic or Hollywood than THE AFRICAN QUEEN..." -- Grade: A- (A.V. Club)
4 stars out of 5 -- "This stunning restoration makes a feature of Jack Cardiff's remarkable cinematography." (Uncut)
"It gave Bogart an Oscar, and Katharine Hepburn a new line in prickly spinsters transformed by love....An imperishable delight..." (Sight and Sound)
4 stars out of 5 -- "QUEEN still plays like the most glorious triumph of faith against plausibility." (Total Film)