The African Queen

The African Queen is a 1951 film about a gin-swilling riverboat owner/captain in Africa during WWI who is persuaded by a strait-laced missionary to use his boat to attack an enemy warship.

Directed by John Huston. Written by James Agee and John Huston, based on the novel by C. S. Forester.
The greatest adventure a man ever lived...with a woman!

Charlie Allnut

  • There ain't nobody in Africa except yours truly who can get up a good head of steam on the old African Queen.
  • Just listen to this stomach of mine. Way it sounds, you'd think I had a hyena inside me...Ain't a thing I can do about it.
  • Kickin' it starts it workin' again. I gotta act fast 'cause one of my boys dropped a screwdriver down the safety valve...If I was to let the engine die goin' down the rapid, we'd be goners...You know, I'm gonna do that [fix it] one of these days. The only reason I ain't done it up to now is that I kinda like kickin' it. She's all I've got.
  • 'What an absurd idea!' Lady, you got ten absurd ideas for my one.
  • Ooooh! Coward yourself! You ain't no lady. No, Miss. That's what my poor old Mother would say to you, if my poor old Mother was to hear you. Whose boat is this, anyway? I asked you on board 'cause I was sorry for you on account of your losing your brother and all. What you get for feeling sorry for people! Well, I ain't sorry no more, you crazy, psalm-singing, skinny old maid!
  • [to Rose, as she is emptying his gin into the river] Oh, Miss. Oh, have pity, Miss. You don't know what you're doing Miss. I'll perish without a hair of the dog. Oh Miss, it ain't your property.
  • Ah, it's a great thing to have a lady aboard with clean habits. It sets the man a good example. A man alone, he gets to living like a hog. Then, too, with me, it's always: 'Put things off. Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow.' But with you: 'Business before pleasure.' Every time. Do all your personal laundry, make yourself spic and span, get all the mending out of the way and then - and only then - sit down for a nice quiet hour with the Good Book. I tell you, it's a model - like an inspiration. Why, I ain't had this old engine so clean in years, inside and out. Just look at her, Miss. She actually practically sparkles. Myself, too. Guess you ain't never had a look at me without my whiskers and all cleaned up. I bet you wouldn't hardly recognize me, works that much of a change. Freshens you up, too. If I only had some clean clothes, like you. Now you - why you could be at high tea. Say, that's an idea, Miss. How's about a nice little cup of tea? Now don't you stir, I'll be glad to make it for you.
  • Are you cracked? The currents down there are fierce. I don't want a drowned woman on my hands. What will you be thinking of next?
  • Pinch me, Rosie. Here we are, going down the river like Anthony and Cleopatra on that barge! I'll never forget the way you looked going over the falls - head up, chin out, hair blowing in the wind - the living picture of a hero-eyne!
  • What a time we've had, Rosie. What a time. We'll never lack for stories to tell our grandchildren, will we?
  • What I said about having to get out and carry this old boat was meant to be a joke. It don't look like a joke now.
  • If there's anything in the world I hate, it's leeches - filthy little devils!
  • [about The African Queen] She ought to look her best, representing as she does the Royal Navy.

Rose Sayer

  • [to Charlie, after sleeping with him] Dear. What is your first name?
  • I saw a Masai native working once using charcoal on a big hollowed stone - he had a boy to fan the charcoal...We'll have to make a new blade, then. There's lots of iron and stuff that you could use...wouldn't it be better to weld it on?
  • You're the bravest man that ever lived.
  • [to the German captain] Would you hang us together, please?

Rev. Samuel Sayer

  • A good shepherd doesn't desert his flock when the wolves are prowling. We must ask the Almighty to bless the arms of England to carry her through her hour of triumph.
  • [about Rose] Not comely among the maidens, but she too can be a servant in the House of the Lord. Even for such as she, God has a goodly purpose.

German captain

  • [to Charlie] The court sentences you to death by hanging. Sentence to be carried out immediately.
  • [to Charlie] I shall hang you twice, I think.
  • By the power vested in me by Kaiser Wilhelm II, I pronounce you man and wife. Carry on with the execution.


Charlie: What harm could anyone do the Germans in this god-forsaken place?
Rose: God has not forsaken this place, Mr. Allnut, as my brother's presence here bears witness.
Charlie: Oh, no offense, Miss.
Rev. Sayer: War.
Charlie: Yeah, yeah it looks like it.

Charlie: So far so good. Here we are safe and sound, as you might say. The question is, 'What next?'
Rose: Quite.
Charlie: We've got heaps of grubs here, Miss. We're all right as far as that goes. 2,000 cigarettes, 2 cases of gin. Ha, ha. We could stay here for months if we wanted to. It's not a bad place to sit out a war...All the comforts of home including running water.
Rose: We simply can't remain here in this backwater until the war is over, Mr. Allnut.
Charlie: Can't we, Miss? You got the map. Show me a way out and I'll take it.
Rose: The British will certainly launch an attack. The only question is which way will they come.

Charlie: Rapids. A hundred miles of water like it was coming out of a fire hose. And after that, why, the rivers even got a different name. It's called the Bora. That goes to show ya. They didn't even know it was the same river until this fella Spengler got...
Rose: He got down it, I remember.
Charlie: Well, yes, Miss, in a dugout canoe. He had a half a dozen Swahili paddlers. Map makin' he was. That was his map you was looking at.
Rose: Mr. Allnut?...What did you say is in these boxes with the red lines on them?
Charlie: Well them? That's blastin' gelatine, Miss.
Rose: Is it dangerous?
Charlie: Bless you, no, Miss. That's safety stuff, that is. You can get it wet and it don't do it any harm. You set fire to it and it just burns. You can hit it with a hammer and it won't go off - at least I don't think it will. It takes a detonator to set it off. I'll put it over the side, though, if it worries you.
Rose: No, we may want it. Mr. Allnut?...What are these long, round, torpedo-like things?
Charlie: Oh them? Them's oxygen and hydrogen cylinders, Miss.
Rose: Mr. Allnut?
Charlie: I'm still right here, Miss. There ain't much of any other place I could be on a thirty-foot boat, ha, ha, ha.
Rose: You're a machinist, aren't you? I mean, wasn't that your position at the mine?
Charlie: Yes, a kind of a fixer. A jack of all trades, a master of none, like they say.
Rose: Could you make a torpedo?
Charlie: How's that, Miss?
Rose: Could you make a torpedo?
Charlie: A torpedo?...You don't really know what you're askin'. You see, there ain't nothin' so complicated as the inside of a torpedo. It's got gyroscopes, compressed air chambers, compensating cylinders...
Rose: But all those things, those gyroscopes and things, they're only to make it go, aren't they?
Charlie: Yeah. Yeah, go and hit what it's aimed at.
Rose: Well, we've got The African Queen.
Charlie: How's that, Miss?
Rose: If we were to fill those cylinders with that blasting gelatine and then fix them so that they would stick out over the end of the boat, and then run the boat against the side of a ship, they would go off just like a torpedo, wouldn't they?...We could, what do you call it, get a good head of steam up, and then point the launch toward a ship and just before she hits, we could dive off. Couldn't we?
Charlie: There's only one little thing wrong with your idea. There ain't nothin' to torpedo.
Rose: Oh yes there is.
Charlie: There's what?
Rose: Something to torpedo.
Charlie: What's that?
Rose: The Louisa.
Charlie: The Louisa! Oh now, don't talk silly, Miss. You can't do that. Honest you can't. I told you before, we can't get down the Ulanga!
Rose: Spengler did.
Charlie: In a canoe, Miss.
Rose: If a German did it, we can do it, too.
Charlie: Not in no launch, Miss.
Rose: How do you know? You've never tried it.
Charlie: I never tried shooting myself in the head, neither. The trouble with you, Miss, is, you, you don't know anything about boats!
Rose: In other words, you are refusing to help your country in her hour of need, Mr. Allnut?
Charlie: All right, Miss, have it your own way. But don't blame me for what happened.

Charlie: I don't blame you for being scared, Miss, not one little bit. Ain't no person in their right mind ain't scared of white water.
Rose: I never dreamed that any mere physical experience could be so stimulating.
Charlie: How's that, Miss?
Rose: I've only known such excitement a few times before - a few times in my dear brother's sermons when the spirit was really upon him.
Charlie: You mean you want to go on?
Rose: Naturally.
Charlie: Miss, you're crazy.
Rose: I beg your pardon.
Charlie: You know what would have happened if we would have come up against one of them rocks?
Rose: But we didn't. I must say I'm filled with admiration for your skill, Mr. Allnut. Do you suppose I'll try practice steering a bit that someday I might try? I can hardly wait...Now that I've had a taste of it. I don't wonder you love boating, Mr. Allnut.

Charlie: Uh, how's the Book, Miss?
[no answer]
Charlie: Well, not that I ain't read it, that is to say, my poor old Mum used to read me stories out of it.
[no answer]
Charlie: How's about reading it out loud?
[no answer]
Charlie: I could sure do with a little spiritual comfort myself.
[no answer]
Charlie': And you call yourself a Christian! Do you hear me? Don't ya? Don't ya? [yelling] Huh?
[no answer]
Charlie: What ya being so mean for, Miss? A man takes a drop too much once and a while, it's only human nature.
Rose: Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above.
Charlie: Miss, I'm sorry. I apologize. What more can a man do than say he's sorry, huh? You done paid me back, Miss. You didn't even leave me a drop. Miss, have a heart. Fair is fair. You gotta say somethin', I don't care what it is, but you gotta say something. I'll be honest with ya, Miss. I, I just can't stand no more of this. I-I just ain't used to it, that's all.
Rose: So you think it was your nasty drunkenness I minded.
Charlie: Well, what else?
Rose: You promised you'd go down the river.
Charlie: Miss. Listen to me and try to understand. There's death a dozen times over down the river. I'm sorry to disappoint ya, but don't blame me. Blame the Ulanga.
Rose: You promised.
Charlie: [shouting] Well, I'm taking my promise back.
[no answer]
Charlie: All right, Miss. You win. As the crocodiles will be glad to hear, 'Down the river we go.'
Rose: Have some breakfast, Mr. Allnut...Or no. Get up steam. Breakfast can wait.
Charlie: [pointing to crocodiles] Waiting for their supper, Miss.
Rose: Don't be worried, Mr. Allnut.
Charlie: Oh, I ain't worried, Miss. Gave myself up for dead back where we started.

Rose: Do you recognize these flowers, Mr. Allnut?
Charlie: Huh?
Rose: I've never seen them before.
Charlie: Well, I can't say as I have either.
Rose: Perhaps no one has. I don't suppose they even have a name.
Charlie: Whether they have or not, they sure are pretty.

Rose: Then you think we can do it?
Charlie: Do it? Of course we can do it! Nothin' a man can't do if he believes in himself. Never say die, that's my motto.
Rose: I've had misgivings. I was beginning to think that the whole thing was a mistake...I had a moment of weakness.
Charlie: Oh, if you're feeling weak, a day or two more here won't make any difference.
Rose: Oh no. We'll go on. Thank heaven for your strength, Charlie.

Charlie: We're finished.
Rose: I know it.
Charlie: I'm not one bit sorry I came. What I mean is, it was worth it.
Rose: Dear Lord, we've come to the end of our journey. In a little while, we will stand before You. I pray for You to be merciful. Judge us not for our weakness but for our love, and open the doors of heaven for Charlie and me.

Rose: This air! Isn't it wonderful?
Charlie: Yeah, it's like - I know you don't approve, but it's like a shot of gin. It makes your blood race, your face numb and your spirits soar.

Rose: Who do you think you are ordering me about?
Charlie: I'm the captain that's who! And I'm ain't taking you along. You'd only be in my way.
Rose: I suppose I was in your way going down the rapids. Then what you said to me back there on the river was a lie about how you never could have done it alone and how you lost your heart and everything. You liar! Oh, Charlie, we're having our first quarrel.
Charlie: All right. It'll be you at the tiller and me at the engine, just like it was from the start.

Captain: What kind of craziness is this?
Charlie: Aw come on, Captain, it'll only take a minute, and it'll mean such a lot to the lady.
Captain: Very well, if you wish it absolutely. What are the names again?
Charlie: Charles.
Rose: Rosie. Rose.
Captain: Do you, Charles, take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife?
Charlie: Yes, sir.
Captain: Do you, Rose, take this man to be your lawful wedded husband?
Rose: I do.
Captain: By the authority vested in me by Kaiser Wilhelm II, I pronounce you man and wife. Proceed with the execution.

Charlie: What happened?
Rose: We did it, Charlie, we did it!
Charlie: But how?

Charlie: Well, what do you all right, Mrs. Allnut?
Rose: Wonderful, simply wonderful. And you, Mr. Allnut?
Charlie: Pretty good, for an old married man.
Rose: I'm all twisted around, Charlie. Which way is the east shore?
Charlie: The way we're swimming toward, old girl.


External links

Wikipedia has an article about:
The African Queen
Last modified on 10 October 2007, at 19:24