Monday, October 18, 2010

Long live the Queen!

I'm a big fan of Humphrey Bogart. Have been one ever since I took an interest in the pictures from the Golden Age of Hollywood.From Alfred Hitchcock to John Huston, I was enamored by their artistic vision. These films are plain entertainers that plays out to the players like a well written novel. Even though that makes these movies a bit predictable but it still interesting as hell.I also make it a point to search the net seeking out suggestions from the net community to not miss any classic."The African Queen" is one title that keeps popping up.It's in the IMDB 250 list and also in the Yahoo Movies to watch before you die list.One other reason being I've never watched Bogey color movie before,so it made sense to watch one.
As far as my opinion is concerned the movie is a tad bit slow paced. It's the story of a couple ,who is brought together by the circumstances,who otherwise are two extremes apart,one a sailor and other a pastor.At the dawn of the first World War,in the continent of Africa , zee Germans are hunting down the natives ,recruiting them to the Army ,to make them serve in the war.Katherine Hepburn's character Rosie and her Brother are running a missionary in the midst of the Jungle and Bogey's the boatman who brings them the supplies and their letters, serving as their connection with the Outside world. He informs them of the war between the Germans and the English.Soon after he leaves,German soldiers move in ,capturing the natives and burning down their homes so that the natives would have no place to return to.Kathy's brother tries to stop them but he gets beaten up. Soon he suffers from kind of mental shock and dies leaving Kathy all alone in the middle of the Jungle.
Luckily Bogey shows up returning from his trip. He is moved by the sights there and asks Kathy to come with before more Germans showed up. So they both sets out into the river ,and Kathy formulates a plan involving a Torpedo and escape from a German Patrol boat that's keeping them from freedom.Bogey,at first reluctant ,agrees to go on with the plan as there wasn't much of an option. So as they make their way to the freedom they slowly fall in love ,overcomes treacherous ordeals like the rapids and reeds and swamps and leeches and zee Germans and mechanical troubles with their wits and will.Their feelings for each other grows stronger and stronger with every onset of troubles.There's even a gentle push from the almighty in their quest for freedom at times of utter despair and hopelessness.
The Movie plays out in a simple manner,nothin fancy.Being in Technicolor and one of the first movies in color (It's probably the Oldest movie in color I've seen)it's beautiful as it was shoot on locations in Africa.They braved the bulky Technicolor camera,hostile environment and dysentry to make this beautiful movie. The Movie opens up with the shot of colorful lush of green trees accompanied by the cries of monkeys and elephants ,immediately transporting you to Africa.Humphrey Bogart received his one and only Oscar for Best Oscar for his portrayal of Charlie Allnut and the rest were nominated for one. I think it's one of Bogey's most natural performances outside of the Film-Noir genre.He's more of a goof ball type than hero material and Kathy is sharp and polished in the beginning and slowly transforms her to a more loose,free Rosie.John Huston has always delivered with Humphrey Bogart with previous films like "The Maltese Falcon" and "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" and this one stands on par,up there with them.


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