The African Queen

I spent a good part of the day working on my income tax return.  After my best effort, it looked like I was getting a refund, which I should apply towards my next tax bill.  I still had to put the paperwork together, but it looked like I averted disaster for another year.  I was tired of looking through forms and booklets and eager to get back home.  I watched the news and was sick of seeing Donald Trump.  I went over to the record store to browse through the Blu-ray bin.  I decided to buy the Criterion Collection edition of “Repo Man.”  I walked on to the theatre to catch the Flashback Feature of the night, which was “The African Queen.”  I must have first seen this movie in 1981.  I really liked John Huston in those days.  I would say that the acting performances weren’t perfect.  Some of those facial expressions and lines of dialogue seemed too obvious.  The scene with Charlie’s growling stomach seemed to go on forever, although I recall something like that in a Charlie Chaplin film.  I wondered how those villagers at the beginning felt about being photographed and placed into this movie as people who couldn’t sing.  There were two things I thought about in the first part of the movie, two questions I had in my mind.  The first was why Charlie would toss a cigar butt onto the ground.  It seemed awfully wasteful.  The second was how long it would take a dead body to smell bad in the heat of Africa.  I came to have other questions, like what Charlie and Rose ate during their trip, and what they used to wipe their asses when they had to take a dump.  It seems that Rose and Charlie have sex after one scene fades to black, which was something that also happened in “Casablanca.”  There was one moment where it seemed that Charlie might rape Rose.  I didn’t know what good a wet blanket would do in sleeping in the rain.  I really wondered how they managed to fix the propeller.  It seemed exceptionally hard to do.  I also had questions about the likelihood that the Luise would collide with the torpedo, although an explanation could be the methodical ways of the Germans, taking the same, predictable path all the time.  I thought that some shots showed the model of the African Queen with dummy figures in place of Bogart and Hepburn.  I read that the actual boat was restored and is now a tourist attraction at Key Largo, Florida.  It looked like the filming was difficult.  I noticed that some of the animals were out of focus.  The cast and crew got sick, although Bogart supposedly didn’t because he drank only whiskey.  I got a little tired of the music on the soundtrack and thought it was melodramatic during a shot of Charlie with a bottle of gin.  This was one of the classic Technicolor movies.  I always had it in my mind that it was shot for a wide screen, too, but we were watching it practically on a television screen.  The one part of the movie that cut through the fog that the two young people near me were in was the leaches.  It never fails to be a nauseating sight.  I had to think that Rose would have some leaches after she went into the water to cut down reeds.  I kept wishing that Charlie could get some new, clean clothes.  Despite some clumsy dialogue and not that much suspense because I never believed that the two main characters were going to die, this was still a great movie that was enjoyable.  It made me think back to old days, when I took more pleasure from watching old movie with movie stars who were real stars.  The world of movies changed after John Huston’s death in 1987.  Bogart actually didn’t have that much life left in him, as he died in January 1957.  Katharine Hepburn would go on to live for 96 years, finally dying in June 2003.  I walked back home and caught James Woods on the Tonight Show from November 3, 1989.  He talked about getting married, and Johnny congratulated him, but that marriage would last for only a few months.  Some of the people who died on April 1 include Scott Joplin (1917), Marvin Gaye (1984), Martha Graham (1991), Carrie Snodgress (2004), John Forsythe (2010), and Cynthia Lennon (2015).  Today is a birthday for Susan Boyle (55) and Debbie Reynolds (84).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for April 1, Scott Joplin died of syphilitic dementia at age 49 in the Manhattan State Hospital in 1917.  In 1966, David Bowie’s first single, “Do Anything You Say,” was released.  In 1983, Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life” was released.  In 1988, “Bright Lights, Big City,” starring Michael J. Fox, Kiefer Sutherland, Phoebe Cates, and Dianne Wiest, was released.

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