John Huston

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The African Queen
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Actors: Katharine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart
Format: PAL
Region: Region 2 (UK & Europe)
Number of Discs: 1
Classification: U
Studio: ITV DVD
DVD Release Date: 14 Jun. 2010
Run Time: 105 minutes

The film’s restoration in 2010:
ITV STUDIOS Global Entertainment has partnered with Paramount Pictures to save this great classic and restore it back to its former glory. The Original 35mm three strip camera negatives were scanned at high resolution and digitally recombined using restoration tools to repair tears and scratches, remove dirt and stabilise the picture. The soundtrack underwent full digital audio restoration removing clicks, hum, and other audio defects before creating a new Optical soundtrack negative. The Digital files have been output to a high resolution digital cinema File as well as creating a pristine new combined 35mm negative and an HD master. This is a fine example of how today’s technologies can protect and preserve film both digitally and photo-chemically for the next 100 years and beyond. The film is expected to be re-released in UK Cinemas in 2010 both on 35mm prints and digital projection and is available on DVD and Blu-ray to enjoy at home.

On the DVD:
A trailer, a gallery of contemporary posters and stills, plus some text biographies of the principals, simply whet the appetite for the main extra feature here: an audio commentary by veteran cinematographer Jack Cardiff. The man responsible for the lush, albeit studio-bound jungle textures of Black Narcissus faced innumerable challenges lighting real Borneo jungle in the heart of the Congo for Huston's ambitious project, and here he relates all the behind-the-scenes anecdotes of disease, infestation and disaster that plagued the production.

Buy: Dvd

Condition: used - very good.



    John Huston, 1951


    Sam Spiegel

running time:

    103 minutes. Colour


    James Agee and Huston


    from the novel by C.S. Forester



    Allan Gray

Main Cast:

Oscar (1951):

Oscar Nominations:

  • best actress (Hepburn)
  • best director
  • best screenplay
african queen


In his novel White Hunter, Black Heart, Peter Viertel claims that John Huston insisted on filming The African Queen on location in the Congo rather than on the back lot of some studio simply because he wanted to go on safari and, he hoped, shoot an elephant. Knowledge of Huston's character suggests that this is very probably true.

Whether it is or not, to film on location was an inspired decision which, with the unconventional but equally inspired casting of Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, made The African Queen an exceptional movie. Bogart as an ignorant, gin-soaked riverboat captain; Hepburn as a dried-up spinster, a prim, forbidding English missionary? No, no, you think, only Hollywood could have come up with anything so preposterous. And yet it works. As we watch this unlikely couple fleeing from the German forces in the First World War, making their hazardous way down a barely navigable river, taking Bogart's boat, The African Queen, through perilous rapids while at first despising each other, then gradually, reluctantly, falling in love, disbelief virtually suspends itself. No effort is required because the splendour - and obvious discomfort - of the locations is clearly genuine and because these people, changing and growing, discovering within themselves and each other qualities of strength and resourcefulness that neither had suspected, are eminently credible.

There is romance here, danger, excitement and a leavening humour that springs naturally from the characters and the situations. Admittedly the climax, the daring assault on the German cruiser, is sentimental, glib and - let's be honest - highly implausible. But above all it is right. Nothing less than a triumphant ending would have been remotely acceptable.

Incidentally, Peter Viertel worked, uncredited, on the script. His book, one of the best novels about the movie industry, was filmed in 1990 with Clint Eastwood as the thinly disguised Huston. Both on page and on screen it makes an interesting companion piece to The African Queen itself.


Take two legendary co-stars, a rip-roaring boys own story, a fearless director and an eventful location shoot in Zaire and Uganda and you get The African Queen - the best loved of all adventure movies.

During World War One, a hard drinking river trader (BOGART) and a prim missionary (HEPBURN) are forced to take a hazardous river expedition together, encountering tropical hazards, nefarious German officers and a surprising romance.

Bogart's role won him his only Oscar. Hepburn puts in a characteristically sharp performance. With masterful direction from John Huston and a wonderful script from the classic C. S. Forester novel, The African Queen is a rare treat.

The African Queen

john huston
John Huston

humphrey bogart and katharine hepburn in the african queen
Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn in The African Queen
© Itv

humphrey bogart and katharine hepburn in the african queen
Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn in The African Queen
© Itv

The African Queen

Price: £15.00 (UK Sterling) (UK Postage Inclusive)

Dec. 16: back in stock. 'Used - very good'.

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