Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review: The Making of the African Queen or How I Went to Africa With Bogart, Bacall and Huston and Almost Lost My Mind by Katharine Hepburn

Goodreads Summary: The Making of The African Queen or How I went to Africa with Bogart, Bacall and Huston and Almost Lost My Mind by Katharine Hepburn. Published by Alfred A. Knope New York 1987 Filled with laughter and personal insight into the making of the movie, many photographs.

I love Katharine Hepburn. I love her autobiography Me: Stories of My Life. The African Queen is one of my all time favorite films. So it shouldn't be surprising when I say this is one of my new favorite books.

Hepburn gives the reader a vivid insight into her experience making The African Queen with Bogie and John Huston- which is great, because she talks about several things I haven't heard discussed in most documentaries (for instance: I didn't know she objected to the original script or that she actually suggested a few of the most popular scenes to Huston.) I've heard some complain before that they thought Hepburn's writing style a bit hard to read, but I've never had issues with the writing in either of her books (and I personally love the way she writes anyway).

Another thing I love about this book is that it contains several behind the scenes pictures and stills that I've never seen before and are probably really hard to find anywhere else.

Overall, I found The Making of the African Queen to be a quite wonderful book. I'd suggest checking it out if you're a fan of the movie. This book is currently out of print, but is available in places like libraries and Amazon, and it also comes with The African Queen box set, which is how I got my copy. 

"Now what do you suppose ever happened to Charlie and Rose? Where did they live? Did they stay in Africa? I always thought they must have. And lots of little Charlies and Rosies. And lived happily ever after. Because that's what we wanted them to do. And every summer they take a trip in the old Queen- and laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh..."
-closing paragraph, page 129.


  1. I've been wanting to read this one and your review helped me decide. I'm going to try and find a copy! ;)

  2. Oh I need a copy too, sounds like such an interesting book, I love memoirs!

  3. Oh! I LOVED THIS BOOK!! Kate's style of writing is so personal and fun. Exactly how I expect she'd tell the story if we were sitting in her living room.