Tuesday 22 February 2011

The African Queen sails again

60 years ago American audiences got a chance to see an amazing film. It was released just before the end of 1951 (so to be with a change to be in with a chance of Oscar glory in 1952) and starred two of the biggest stars of the era, Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. Both were, in some way, playing somewhat against type. With Bogart playing a hard drinking riverboat captain and Hepburn playing a prim missionary - a world away from her comedy roles in Adam's Rib, a year previously, and her Oscar winning performance in The Philadelphia Story from a decade before.

It was Bogart's only Oscar win - some thought this to be an apology for nor giving him the award for his role in Casablanca - and Hepburn losing to Vivien Leigh for her role in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Now in the film's 60th year, and after a major restoration project, the film is back in UK cinemas looking as good as it did when it first hit cinemas over half a century ago.

Three movie giants come together in THE AFRICAN QUEEN, combining the masterful direction of John Huston with the fabulous chemistry of Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn in their only on screen pairing.

Bogart won a well-deserved Best Actor Academy Award for his role as disreputable riverboat captain Charlie, who forms an unlikely alliance with Hepburn's straight-laced Rose. Based on the novel by C.S. Forester, this wartime romantic adventure sees the pair forced to travel together down a hazardous East African river. As they face dangers and devise an ingenious way to destroy an enemy gunboat, both discover new sides to their personalities and before long, their passionate dislike turns to love.
Directed by Huston, produced by Sam Spiegel and shot in glorious Technicolor™ by cinematographer Jack Cardiff, the film was originally released in 1951. Following an extensive $650,000 (£400,000) restoration by ITV Studios Global Entertainment, Paramount Pictures and Romulus Films, the title is now available for audiences to enjoy on the big screen once again.

THE AFRICAN QUEEN is opening from March 4, 2011 at BFI Southbank, Filmhouse Edinburgh and key cities.

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