Capitol times. (Middletown, Pa.) 1982-2013, April 21, 2010, Image 12

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Some classic films can be hard to
find on a high quality DVD. They
might be lesser-known movies
from well known directors or rare
gems that are still overlooked
today. There are those bona fide
classics like "Casablanca" and
"Gone With the Wind" that have
been released and re-leased in
single disc and special edition
DVDs numerous times. But while
the most well known movies
are being re-packaged time and
again, some surprising titles are
still waiting to be restored and
released on DVD for the first
One such title can be scratched
off the waiting list. Thankfully,
director John Huston's "The
African Queen," which contains
the only pairing of legendary stars
Humphrey Bogart and Katharine
Hepburn, is available on DVD
and blu-ray for the first time.
The film's plot is a classic
scenario of two completely
different people thrown together
and forced to work with one
another in order to achieve a
common goal. A German colony
located in Africa is invaded at the
Unravel the mystery of "Lost" as the final season comes to an end
"Lost" is winding its way down
to the final episodes in its sixth
and final season, but as they say,
it's not over it's over. The show
has picked up new twists along
the way. Once it was only about
a group of people crashing on the
island and making do with their
surroundings, but over the past
few seasons we've encountered
supernatural elements like talking
to the dead and time travel.
Kooky, huh?
For anyone that doesn't know
the gist of "Lost"—it's pretty hard
not to have heard about it—it's
this: a group of people flying on
Oceanic Flight 815 from Australia
to L.A. end up crashing on a
mysterious island. The survivors
can't find a way to communicate
with anyone, and no one from the
outside can locate them. Since
ril2l 2010
Rediscover a classic with "The African Queen'?
onset of World War I. Charlie
Allnut (Bogart) is the captain
and one-man crew of a rickety
old steamboat named the African
Queen. Rose Sayer (Hepburn) is
a Christian missionary. To avoid
more trouble with the Germans
they must leave the colony by
way of the treacherous Ulanda
He is crusty and unshaven. She
is an English spinster. He likes
to drink. She is God-fearing. It
seems they share no common
ground. But in order to survive
they , must first co-exist. Their
navigation of the perilous river in
the rickety old Queen is exciting.
Their final attempt to destroy the
German war ship Louisa is bold.
But the real fun and entertainment
comes from watching the
progression of Charlie and Rose's
relationship. First, they learn to
stand each other. Then they learn
to work together. Finally, they
learn to love one another.
The chemistry between the
leads is magical. It was 1951
when Bogart and Hepburn starred
together for the first and only
time. Both had been working
in Hollywood for almost two
decades prior to making this film.
As filmsite's Tim Dirks points
out in his review, "The African
they can't seem to find a way out,
several people begin to settle in
and make a home for themselves,
which involves hunting for food,
finding fresh water sources,
and providing themselves with
suitable shelter.
Then the survivors begin to
realize that the island isn't as quiet
and simple as it appears to be.
Many of them notice mysterious
sounds in the middle of the
night. They discover many odd
places scattered throughout the
island, like underground hatches
containing electromagnetic
energy. Soon the survivors also
realize that they are not alone on
the island, and they start to think
that maybe they crashed for a
Each episode of the show usually
has a character focus, and blends
what is currently happening on the
island with flashback sequences
of that character's life before the
Queen" signaled the transition
towards more mature roles for the
44-year-old Hepburn. There was
a time during the 1930 s when she
was labeled "box-office poison."
She went off to the theater,
starred in "The Philadelphia
Story," bought the production's
film rights, starred in the screen
version and never looked back.
She would continue to'make films
into the 1990 s and go on to have
the most successful and revered
career of any actress in history.
For the 52-year-old Bogart, "The
African Queen" would bring him
the only Best Actor Oscar of his
career. And what a career it was.
His early career consisted of
supporting roles playing bad guys .
in 1930 s gangster movies. He
became a Hollywood mainstay
following his success playing the
leads in "The Maltese Falcon"
and "Casablanca." He remains
the epitome of on-screen cool. In
1999, an American Film Institute
poll named the pair the greatest
American Screen Legends; Kate
was the number one lady and
Bogie topped the men.
"The African Queen" was the
fifth pairing of director Huston
and star Bogart. When the topic
of greatest American directors
comes up, John Huston isn't
crash. Through this method of
editing we, as the viewers, are
able to learn about each passenger
and their deep dark secrets. And
everyone has a deep dark secret:
The show has an incredibly
diverse cast, which is interesting
to see. To name just a few, there
are Korean, Japanese, Chinese,
British, Canadian, Brazilian,
Hispanic, and Australian actors
and actresses. The age of the cast
also ranges from infants to adults
in their 60s or 70s.
"Lost" is filled with symbols and
hidden meanings. When I try to
look too deeply into each episode
I get a little confused, so I watch
"Lost" for what it is: a show.
However, there are those that are
interested in analyzing the show
and its references to philosophy,
religion, pop culture, and almost
everything else you can think of.
The show tends to have many
"What were they thinking of
usually mentioned in the same
breath with the likes of John
Ford, Orson Welles and Howard
Hawks. Huston, who started his
career as a screenwriter, may be a
bit overlooked nowadays but there
is no denying the lasting quality
of his best works, including "The
Maltese Falcon," "The Treasure
of the Sierra Madre," "Key
Largo," "The Asphalt Jungle,"
and "The Misfits." And while the
first two are generally considered
all time great American movies,
"The African' Queen" might just
be Huston's most popular film.
Filmed on location in Africa
(a rarity in Hollywood at the
time), the shoot posed numerous
challenges to the cast and crew.
There were no luxuries. Hepburn
and Lauren Bacall, Bogart's
wife, became very ill. Untamed
wilderness, wild animals and
intense heat • were ever-present
dangers. To make up for the lack
of clean drinking water Huston
and Bogart happily consumed
large amounts of gin. All involved
with the production went through
hell and created a slice of movie
More of the shoot's eventful
moments and behind the scenes
tidbits are highlighted in an hour
long documentary included on
when they did that?" moments,
but as it's a norm in "Lost," it's
best to just go with it and try to
figure it out later on.
Keep in mind that if you miss
one episode, you're out from that
point. If you even miss 15 minutes
of one episode, you're out. In fact,
keep your eyes trained on the TV
for every second until it goes to
commercial. It's frustrating, but
that's just how "Lost" operates.
It's not the best way to attract
the special edition DVD. Also
included is a 1952 Lux Radio
Theater adaptation and an excerpt
from Hepburn's book, "The
Making of the African Queen: Or
How I Went to Africa With Bogart
Bacall and Huston and Almost
Lost My Mind," chronicling her
personal experience while making
the movie.
The extras are nice but the fact
that this fan favorite is finally
available on DVD and blu-ray
is enough. The film has been
restored and both the Technicolor
picture and audio is top notch.
The last disc-less film from
AFl's 100 greatest list has finally
been given a proper, albeit long
overdue, release.
Huston, Hepburn, Bogart, Bacall
and the rest of the crew traveled
to Africa, braved the elements
and hazards and made a classic.
The lack of a DVD release for so
many years was one of the great
home video letdowns. It's been a
long time coming and now, much
to the delight of classic film buffs,
the new DVD release brings the
great romantic adventure to life
and offers some noteworthy extras
as well. "The African Queen" is a
collection of some of film's finest
talent. It remains one of its best
loved triumphs.
new fans or make wavering fans
stay on, but for dedicated fans it
provides more incentive for them
to keep on being dedicated.
For any new "Lost" fans that
are able to catch up on five and
a half seasons worth of episodes,
the show runs every Tuesday at
9:00 p.m. "Lost" has everything:
comedy, drama, suspense, action,
adventure, romance, and sci-fi.
What more is there, really?