I think it needs to be established that Katherine Hepburn is one of the classiest people to ever live. I mean sure, she dated a married Spencer Tray for 25 years, but his wife refused to grant him a divorce. She rocked pants before it was normal for women to do so, and she did it all while being an amazingly talented actress. So I believe that ends my love letter to Katherine Hepburn. I also love Humphrey Bogart a somewhat abnormal amount. Therefore, I obviously love The African Queen, but I feel like I might have a slight bias.
So basically, The African Queen is about an uptight Katherine Hepburn, manning a boat with drunken and some what unkempt Humphrey Bogart. Today, this movie would totally be shoved aside, and considered just another “predictable chick flick”, but in 1950’s this was nominated for Academy Awards. Now I’m not saying Jennifer Anniston needs to be nominated for her work in Just Go With It, but it would be nice for movies under the romantic comedy genre to be considered seriously.
However I’m extremely perplexed by Hepburn’s wardrobe, how could she stand to wear this
in Africa? And it wasn’t even fake Africa in the back of a Universal lot, it was actual, extreme heat Africa.
I am all for actors expanding their boundaries and what not, but I feel cheated whenever Humphrey Bogart is not wearing a suit. I feel like putting him in dirty old boatman clothes, is just hiding his uncanny ability to look amazing in a suit. I don’t need a logical reason for a boatman to have a suit on a boat, I just need it to happen.
In case you couldn’t guess, Hepburn and Bogart eventually fall in love. And while I am totally for the romance, I could help but think how sexually frustrated these people are. Hepburn has been living with her bishop brother for ten years in Africa (and if you asked me, they seemed a little too close), and Bogart has been on his boat for God knows how long, and this isn’t the real world where everyone knows how attractive he is, but the movie world where people don’t give him a second look. I honestly think that if you stuck any man and woman on a boat they would eventually fall in love, especially two who haven’t been romantically involved with anyone in a crazy long time. I just hope they are still in love after they get off the boat.
So it turns out that Hepburn and Bogart were really good friends off screen too (and absolutely nothing makes me happier), apparently Hepburn and Spencer Tracy were one of the last people to see Bogart before he died. They actually visited him the night before, and Tracy was asked to speak at his funeral, but he declined because he was too emotional. Their real life friendship makes the movie ten time better.
It’s pretty much impossible not to love a movie that has the two best actors of all time (according to the American Film Institute). I just wish Bogart was wearing a suit.
Rating: 5 out of 5 Katherine Hepburn Oscars (she only won four, but she deserves more)