Rose Sayer ( Katharine Hepburn ) and her brother Samuel Sayer ( Robert Morley ) have been living in a small village as missionaries in Central Africa for over ten years. Charlie Allnut ( Humphrey Bogart ), the captain of Little African Queen, brings the two regular mail. One day he has to tell them that the first world war broke out. A few days later German soldiers came to the village and burnt it down. Samuel suffers a shock from which he can no longer recover. He dies a few days later. Rose was the only one left behind. When Charlie later wants to see her, Rose persuades him to take her to his boat. Charlie wants to wait with a few bottles of rum on the boat, until the war is over. Rose, on the other hand, has taken the plan to drive the Germans along the river to sink them on their ship with self-made torpedoes. After a long discussion Charlie’s proposal is accepted. It begins a journey full of dangers.
Background & Information
The film was nominated for four Oscars in the categories Best Actor, Best Director, Best Director and Best Screenplay. Humphrey Bogart won his first and only Oscar for his role.
The script was already in 1938. At that time, the female lead role was supposed to go to Bette Davis , along with David Niven as Charlie. Another attempt with Bette was started in 1947, this time with James Mason in the male lead role. But Bette was prevented because of her pregnancy. Two years later, when she wanted to perform the role again, she was already too late. Katharine Hepburn was already under contract.