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"The African Queen" {Blu-ray}
Wayne Klein
Studio: Warner Brothers
Release Date:
Mar 23, 2010
Special Features:

See Below


One of the few AFI Top 100 Films that was MIA for the longest time (the last major home video release for the film in the U.S. was done on what was at the time a top notch looking laserdisc edition. The film did however show up as a region 2 release in 2003 for DVD), "The African Queen" arrives on Blu-ray looking as majestic as possible. Paramount has done a marvelous restoration on the film restoring much of the luster lost with the passage of time.***

I'm going to skip doing a summary of the plot of the movie since others have done a fine job of that (and most fans who have seen the film before don't need to read it). "The African Queen" came along at just the right time in both Bogie and Hepburn's careers as the Black List threatened to swallow them up like it did many other major stars of the time. Huston's direction and the script he wrote in collaboration with James Agee are both marvelous and filled with wry humor and observations about our characters.***

Image & Sound:

Colors look quite nice and detail is remarkably sharp considering how badly the original elements of the film have aged and degraded with the passage of time. Kudos to Paramount for making sure that "The African Queen" was released in a restored version rather than just pulling the best looking print available for home video. ***

Special Features:

The documentary "Embracing Chaos" Produced by Nicholas Meyer and directed by Eric Young gives us an intimate behind-the-scenes glimpse into on location production of the film. Making good use of interviews with assistant director Guy Hamilton, Lauren Bacall, actor Theodore Bikel, archival interviews with director of photography Jack Cardiff, Bogart, Hepburn, Huston and intercutting rare home movie footage, "Embracing Chaos" gives fans and first time viewers a strong impression of the challenges of the location shooting of the film. It's a well made documentary that does justice to its subject. ***

Final Words:

The only (minor) complaint I have is with the newly generated opening titles which are very close to the original titles but have some slight variations. Most folks won't care and on the whole it's a very, very minor point even for fans of the film.***

Highly recommended.


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