The African Queen

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Read Max Blinkhorn's film review of The African Queen
The African Queen

At last, an older film that has had justice done to it in the form of extras. The film has been digitally remastered and it shows. The print quality is excellent, belying the film's age, although the soundtrack is a little hissy in places.

I'm not the greatest fan of theatrical trailers, but the one for this is an absolute hoot as the plummy voiceover takes you back to a bygone era of cinema. The biographies too are comprehensive, entertaining and, importantly, in a large enough typeface that you don't have to get up and squint at the television to read them.

Copy picture

The stills gallery and poster gallery will provide some interest for aficionados, but it is the audio commentary by Jack Cardiff which is the jewel in the extras' crown. Cardiff provided cinematography for the film and has a wealth of information about the shooting of the film, including details of the trick they used to give the appearance of a swarm of flies - apparently achieved by filling a lens with feathers. It is his anecdotes about the shooting of the film, however, which are perhaps the most interesting, revealing aspects of the stars' personalities and relating tales of the cast and crew's battle with the African jungle and sickness.

My only quibble with the commentary is that the soundtrack of the film seems set at too high a level, meaning that it is sometimes difficult to make out what Cardiff is saying - a shame and something which the producers could easily have avoided.

This DVD is well worth purchasing for the film itself, but the extras certainly add to the enjoyment. Highly recommended.

Reviewed on: 25 Jul 2001
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The African Queen packshot
A prim missionary and boozy river trader sail a boat through Africa.
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Region: 2

Ratio: Widescreen 4:3

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Audio commentary by Jack Cardiff, original theatrical trailer, English subtitles, biographies, stills gallery and poster gallery

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