The African Queen celebrates her 100th year! Can't be that old, you say, it's a 1951 movie. True, but the boat, was built in 1912 in England and used by the British East Africa Company from 1912 to 1968 to transport passengers and cargo across Lake Albert (on the border between Uganda and Belgian Congo). Director Huston decided to do much of the filming for this movie in Africa, so he rented a boat that was in use there. It is the story of how an old boat became a movie star.
Humphrey Bogart earned his only Oscar for playing the role of Charlie
Allnut in The African Queen and it is the only film to pair Bogart and Hepburn.
The African Queen, which sank twice during the filming of the movie, still lives. She is at the dock next to the Holiday Inn on Key Largo.
The steel hull is original, but the boiler is now fuel oil fired and a two-cylinder steam engine has replaced the original one lunger.
The original, wood-fired boiler has been saved and is on display. Plans are to rebuild this boiler, someday in the future, when funding is secured.
Experiencing boating and movie history while exploring the Florida Keys.
This is the year for a number of 100th anniversaries - the African Queen (the boat), Flagler's railroad to Key West, the planting of the cherry trees in Washington, DC, and the introduction of the Oreo Cookie. Cookie history will be skipped.
John Huston also directed the film Key Largo (1948), but did all the filming for that movie on a sound stage in Hollywood - even the offshore scenes on a boat. None of the actors had visited Key Largo. Only a couple shots of the outside of a hotel and a bus traveling on US 1 were filmed on location. Humphrey Bogart also starred in Key Largo, his last movie with his wife, Lauren Bacall.
For those of you who have not completed the reading assignments from earlier posts, you now have a couple movie assignments. And, you don't have to rent them - they are probably on the shelves of your local library.