The African Queen (1951)

First off, let me start by saying that I apologize I have not been keeping this updated. I’ve been helping my mom with the house and I just started college so I’ve been quite busy lately. However, despite all the busyness, I am determined to watch at least one new-to-me movie every Wednesday night and possibly Friday night (we’ll see about that….)

Anyways, my choice for tonight was The African Queen. I originally planned to watch Night Train to Munich but for some reason I was drawn to The African Queen; probably because it has been on my to-watch list for quite some time and felt it was more ~essential~ than Night Train to Munich (which I’m not downgrading; the main reason I want to see it is because it’s directed by Carol Reed). But I am not, in the least, upset that I watched The African Queen instead of Night Train. In fact, I had no idea what to expect but I absolutely loved it.

The main reason that I loved it so much is because of Rose and Charlie’s relationship; talk about a truly equal relationship. There are almost no arguments about it; each person compliments the other the same number of times and is genuine about it, each puts in the same amount of work, is independent, and takes care of the other when in need. Who stood out to me was Rose. She is equally knowledgeable and has a lot of suggestions and help to offer to Charlie, rather than being as, oh, a damsel in distress? I don’t know. But it’s not what has been portrayed before, at least from what I’ve seen. But then again, Charlie is very different too; he never comes across as a jerk. It’s quite a change for Bogie but I loved it. And Bogie and Katharine together. Never in a million years would I think of putting them together but with their personalities, it works 100% on the mark.

The same relationship would not have been achieved, however, if they were not on a boat traveling up the river through Africa. I kept thinking of Heart of Darkness though out this film but obviously Heart of Darkness goes into a WHOLE different context of Africa, specifically going into the heart of Africa. Here in The African Queen, going up the river, Rose and Charlie find love, a love built from their journey and the life and death obstacles they encounter together. They will not leave one other for anything; an example of this is when the two are talking about who will stay on the boat to shoot the torpedoes. Bogie insists on doing it and does not want Katharine to do it. But Kate being Kate, she refuses to let him order her around and they finally settle on it being a two-man job.

The other thing that struck me about their relationship is their allowance of vulnerability to one other. I feel like in other films, they wouldn’t be as accepting of it, like they have to keep this facade of some sort. But I suppose from all the stuff they’ve been through, it doesn’t matter. At one point Bogie is on the floor of the boat, saying what a poor excuse he is as a man; Kate denies it and says that he has done so much. He doesn’t pretend to act macho 24/7. And neither does Kate. In essence, everything they do is so equal that there is no dominant of the two, but rather just one. One couple, one mind, and one true love.

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