The Making of The African Queen, Or, How I Went to Africa with Bogart, Bacall, and Huston and Almost Lost My Mind by Katherine Hepburn
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publication Date: 1987
The Short Version:
Over 30 years after the movie was filmed Katherine Hepburn recalls her experiences during preparation for and filming of The African Queen
Why I Read It:
I first heard about this book a few years ago when Bookfool talked about it. The African Queen was my father’s favorite movie so it’s one that I remember from when I was a kid.
From the inside cover flap:
This book will tell you what it was like for me to meet John Huston, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in London and in Africa for the first time. To work with them nonstop for about three months. And why – come hell or high water through thick and through thin for better and for worse but not quite until death did we part – It was great fun.
The African Queen was my Dad’s favorite movie and whenever it was on TV we had to have it on. I’m not sure I ever saw the entire movie in one sitting until I was an adult but I remember seeing bits and pieces of it many many years ago.
When Bookfool talked about this book I put it on my wishlist at the library and there it stayed for years. A few weeks ago a friend of mine shared a link to a video clip of Katherine Hepburn (from The Philadelphia Story). It reminded me about this book so I finally checked it out from the library.
The book is short and full of photos from behind the scenes mostly when they were filming in Africa.
It’s a very conversational and stream of consiousness style. It reads as if it was transcribed from recordings of her telling the stories of her experience. It reminded me of television interviews I’d seen with her. I could easily hear her voice in my head as she told the story, interrupted herself and often went off on tangents before returning to the point she had been making.
Now I have to get the movie from the library and watch it again.