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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars African Queen Blu-Ray
The African Queen [Blu-ray] [1951]I've read a few reviews on here commenting on different versions/prints of the African Queen, believe me the Blu-Ray version is almost perfect, one of the best transfers I have ever seen.
I would also point out it's in the original screen ratio.
I find a lot of Blu-Rays no better than the ordinary DVD version but this one is in...
Published on 5 Dec 2010 by Eric H

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36 of 44 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars New ITV DVD of African Queen wrongly encoded in 16:9 instead of 4:3
ITV has made a grave error in the new DVD edition of The African Queen: while the original aspect ratio of 1.37:1 has been retained, the image has not been encoded in 4:3, but in 16:9, resulting in a 33% loss of image resolution and huge black bars at the sides of the image. It is virtually unwatchable on a 4:3 television set, producing a small image with a black border...
Published on 18 Jun 2010 by GuidoB


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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars African Queen Blu-Ray, 5 Dec 2010
By 
Eric H (Bolton Lancashire) - See all my reviews
The African Queen [Blu-ray] [1951]I've read a few reviews on here commenting on different versions/prints of the African Queen, believe me the Blu-Ray version is almost perfect, one of the best transfers I have ever seen.
I would also point out it's in the original screen ratio.
I find a lot of Blu-Rays no better than the ordinary DVD version but this one is in a league of its own.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great transfer and great commentary, 20 Nov 2012
By 
Richard Bevan (Worcester, Worcs United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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The transfer of this film is really good for a picture of this age. You could not wish for anything better. It is happily in the original aspect ratio and I sometimes worry about the comments from other reviewers complaining that "it's not widescreen" when it wasn't actually made in that ratio in the first place. For those people: change the widescreen setting on your TV and cut off the top and bottom of the picture and you will be happy.
The commentary by the cinematographer is the gem on this disk and I think I enjoyed his comments more than the actual film itself. Full of fascinating detail about the filming in Africa.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WTF??!!! (Worthy To proFfer for your consideration, but you knew that already!), 3 Nov 2012
By 
D. Parkin - See all my reviews
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I'm a bit of a sucker for the classic films, but these films are classics for a reason. Having previously bought the dvd of this back in the mists of time, I have to say that the print is as fresh as a daisy on this blu-ray release, giving full vent to the technicolour of the original print. The film of course is a gem, and has me hankering for the times when films did not have to have gratuitous shedloads of swearing in them for "impact"; it's a bit of a slow-burner where the leads carry the picture beautifully, despite Bogart's rictus grin looking cheesier than normal at times. If you haven't seen it, then just do yourself a favour...
What lured me to this print was the promise of a commentary by the late and luminous Jack Cardiff, and I have to say that the edition does not disappoint in this respect. It is lovely to hear tales about the production from the horse's mouth. Both sound and vision are top notch.
Well worth the money, and, to put it bluntly, a steal.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful classic, 20 Jun 2004
This review is from: The African Queen [DVD] (DVD)
The African Queen is a wonderful product of film making's Golden Age, and offers a focused showcase of the acting skills of Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. Their opposite characters grow to understand and accept each other as they endure various hardships, and they eventually fall in love. The actors are excellent, and one can watch their transformation through their faces and actions, which are not over the top. Because the majority of the movie has only these two characters, the script also had to be exceptional for the movie to succeed, and is witty and entertaining.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars stirring adventure, 16 Jan 2003
This review is from: The African Queen [DVD] (DVD)
John Huston once again shows what a great director he is in making this delightful picture. It really is a character piece, focusing on the two leads and there undeniable chemistry. Bogie deserved this oscar - it arguably is his greatest performance. Hepburn is equally as excellent in playing the prim and proper, slightly stuck up passenger. Once again she shows her off talent in being able to balance the comedy elements with the melodrama - a performance also worthy of an oscar. It is testament to their acting ability and the direction of Huston that you never doubt the situation they are in - they really do look like they went through emotional and physical hell. You won't find the gloss i.e. nice spanking new costumes and perfect facial complexions here.
I for one became attached to the duo's journey - who can forget the episode with the leeches, the sheer disgust and fear on Bogie's face when he first realises the critters are on him, and the slow realisation he has to go back into the water to get the boat moving. Masterful acting it really is, and surprising coming from him.
This is a classic and was responsible for setting the template for all subsequent romantic adventures. Its a disgrace the film did not even get nominated for the 51' best picture oscar, since is thoroughly deserved to win it (an American in Paris!??!)
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...I Never Dreamed That Any Experience Could Be So Stimulating...", 9 Sep 2010
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
*** BLU RAY Version ***

Soldier ants three inches deep on the hut floor, hornet nests alongside the river bank, twenty crocodiles ready to eat you for breakfast should you actually venture into the river, dip your feet in the black rotten water of the river to dissipate the unbearable heat and a parasite called a Jigger Bug would lodge itself between your toes and eventually kill you though liver failure... When you listen to Jack Cardiff's spectacularly good feature-length commentary on the actual filming of "The African Queen" in 1951 (he was Director Of Photography), it's a small miracle that this beloved independent gem ever got made at all...

Escaping the suffocating McCarty trials in the USA at the end of The Forties and beginning of the Fifties (Bogie, Hep and Huston were all considered to have lefty affiliations), Director John Huston set off to Africa to film C.S. Forester's 1935 novel on location (an unheard of thing at the time). He dragged with him huge and cumbersome Technicolor cameras, his sickness-prone crew and Jack Cardiff's two lamps and small generator. 1st location was in Biondo on the Ruiki River in the Belgian Congo, 2nd location was Uganda and 3rd was back in the UK (all shots that required actors getting into the river were done in water tanks in London because the Ruiki was just too dangerous in real life).

Their trials and tribulations throughout the shoot are truly the stuff of Hollywood legend - Lepers carried their equipment, they bunked in bamboo huts with all manner of creepy-crawlies joining them under the netting and an African hunter who had been supplying them with meat on a daily basis was led off by authorities for suspected cannibalism (natives going missing). The water was contaminated with parasites (neither Huston nor Bogie got sick because they were gulping back whiskey), the boiler of the boat almost fell on Katherine Hepburn and nearly killed her (she was ill throughout the shoot, but trooped on), tropical rain storms turned pathways into rivers of mud, swarms of flies ate their skin and they couldn't do their necessaries because two deadly black mamba snakes were lurking in the latrine...ouch!

You learn most of these fab titbits from two sources - Jack Cardiff's commentary and a truly superb near 60-minute feature called "Embracing Chaos - Making The African Queen" (with or without subtitles). It includes contributions from large numbers of luminaries and those actually involved in the movie - John Huston and Katharine Hepburn (excerpts from The Dick Cavatt Show 1972/1973), Guy Hamilton (Assistant Director), Sir John Wolff (Producer), Angela Allen (Script Supervisor), Theodore Bickel (officer on the German boat), Desmond Davis (Clapper Boy), Jack Cardiff (DOP), Lawrence Grober (Huston's biographer), William J. Mann (Hepburn's biographer), Laurence Bergreen (James Agee's biographer), Eric Lax (Bogart's biographer), Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni (Sam Spiegel's biographer - Producer/Financier), Warren Stevens (Bogart's friend), John Forester (C.S Forester's son) and Martin Scorsese. There's even clips of and stuff about Lauren Bacall as Bogie's husband, camp cook, medical helper and general all-round on-set good person. Their romance was genuine and real and it's treated with great affection here. "Embracing Chaos..." is a feast of detail and beautifully put together storytelling - it really is.

The "Posters & Lobby Cards" extra has 6 posters (in full colour) and 6 lobby cards - a treat to look at. The "Star Profiles" of Bogart, Hepburn, Huston and Cardiff turn out to be on-screen info snippets which are good rather than great. The "Behind The Scenes" stills are photos on set with animal noises in the background - again not great. And the trailer only shows you how washed out the original film had become.

Which brings us to the print itself - it's GLORIOUS. Digitally restored in 2009, the vast majority of the film is a joy to look at. Sweat on the hairs of Bogart's arms, the lipstick on Hepburn's lips in the church scene at the beginning, the rusty and stained woodwork of the old boat itself, Robert Morley's huge bug eyes as he watches the natives huts burn...it's all beautifully rendered.

There are drawbacks - the aspect is old-school and filmed as such, so when your player actually throws the print onto a modern-day widescreen TV, it's in a centred box. However, if you adjust it to fit the whole screen, I still found it fitted well and without too much compromise to stretching. There are also sections where there's slight blurring of the focus, stock footage of the river that was damaged - but - and I stress this - it's miniscule. As I stood back from the 42" Sony and looked at the print - I was gobsmacked at how beautiful it looked almost all of the time.

But the film itself belongs to the astonished lead duo of Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn playing Charley Allnut and Rose "Rosie" Sayer - an American gin-sozzled steamboat Captain and a straight-laced prim and proper English Missionary lady. James Agee's wonderfully loaded dialogue spiked up the tension between the two at first, then the slow burning romance and then the mutual appreciation of each other (Huston loved beautiful losers) right up the hoisting of the Union Jack and the patriotic torpedoing of a German gunboat at the very end. Such was the chemistry and force of their brilliant performances - both actors virtually reinvented their careers on the back of the movie (Charles Laughton and Betty Davis had initially been thought of for the parts). A genuinely amazed and humbled Bogart even nabbed the Oscar from the clutches of Marlon Brando and Montgomery Cliff.

This BLU RAY reissue is a triumph because it works on the two most important levels - the print is as lovely as it's ever going to be and the two main extras match that.

"The African Queen" is 60 years old next year and this superb 2010 Blu Ray reissue does that enduring classic proud.

Recommended big time.

PS: for other superb restorations on BLU RAY, see also my reviews for "The Italian Job", "Saturday Night, Sunday Morning", "The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner", "Zulu", "The Dambusters", "Quo Vadis", "North By Northwest", "Cool Hand Luke", "The Prisoner - The Complete (TV) Series In High Definition", "Goldfinger", "Braveheart", "Snatch" and "The Ladykillers"
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adventure, comedy and romance, 23 July 2004
By 
L O'connor (richmond, surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The African Queen [DVD] (DVD)
Katherine Hepburn and her clergyman brother (Robert Morley) are missionaries in darkest Africaduring WW1. When Morley dies of some horrible tropical disease, a tough, hard-drinking vulgar riverboat captain (Humphrey Bogart) helps Hepburn to escape from the advancing German troops and takes her off down the river in his grubby little boat The African Queen. When Hepburn discovers that Bogart has dynamite on board, she conceives the brilliant idea of building a torpedo and blowing up a German gunboat. As they travel down the river together they at first seem the most ill-matched couple, but gradually come to like and respect each other, and eventually, of course, to fall in love. They have many adventures and several narrow escapes from death on their hazardous journey This film has absolutely everything to delight, two wonderful characters, an exciting plot, spectacular scenery, and an absoloutely thrilling, suspenceful climax. Hepburn has the two best lines in the film. When they have just shot the rapids, and Bogart is expecting her to be terrified, she exclaims joyfully "I never dreamed any mere physical experience could be so stimulating!" Then later when Bogart has got drunk and she has poured all his whisky into the river, he tells her reproachfully that it's only natural, and she replies coldy "Nature, Mr Alnut,is what we are put in this world to rise above" Absolutely wonderful film.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story punctuated by a great making of film on the Blu-ray, 30 Mar 2010
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Based on a novel by C.S. Forester, adapted for the screen by Director / Writer John Huston. September 1914, in Africa during WW1, everyone is escaping the Huns. An unlikely pair, drunkard Charlie Allnut (Humphrey Bogart) and the reverend's (Robert Morley) spinster sister, Rose Sayer (Katharine Hepburn) escaping down the river form a relationship that may prove fatal to the Germans pride gunboat "The Louisa" with a 6 pounder. And then again, we have to get past rapids, leaches, and a German Fort.

Usually Blu-ray only enhances the visual but cannot enhance the story or dialog. However, with this presentation the DVD extra actually enhances the movie. Watch the film again after watching the extras. I did not realize that the film was shot in Technicolor. The sound (probably due to a better T.V. seems to have improved also.
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36 of 44 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars New ITV DVD of African Queen wrongly encoded in 16:9 instead of 4:3, 18 Jun 2010
By 
This review is from: The African Queen - The Restoration Edition [DVD] [1951] (DVD)
ITV has made a grave error in the new DVD edition of The African Queen: while the original aspect ratio of 1.37:1 has been retained, the image has not been encoded in 4:3, but in 16:9, resulting in a 33% loss of image resolution and huge black bars at the sides of the image. It is virtually unwatchable on a 4:3 television set, producing a small image with a black border around the picture and on 16:9 screens the loss in image resolution results in a unnecessary blurry picture which does the beautiful restoration absolutely no justice. This DVD is defective and should be avoided at all costs unless ITV is going to fix the encoding - the Blu-Ray should be okay though.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant version of a brilliant film, 25 July 2001
By 
This review is from: The African Queen [DVD] (DVD)
The African Queen is a Classic film in its own right. Anyone who wishes to buy the DVD will already know the film, its story and the stars in it. This is a tremendous version of the film and enhances it very well. A well worthwhile addition to anyones collection. For those who do not know the film - the story is great - adventure and love - set during turmoil times in World War 1, performed by two of the best Bogart & Hepburn, that you are likely to see - BUY IT - you wont regret it.
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The African Queen - The Restoration Edition [DVD] [1951]
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