James Agee, John Huston, Peter Viertel
HORIZON PICTURES - ROMULUS FILMS
UNITED ARTISTS - DOMOVIDEO, 20TH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Roberto De Leonardis
GUALTIERO DE ANGELIS
The African Queen, directed by John Huston in 1951, is definitely a classic in the history of cinema. Inspired by a novel by C.S.Forester, it tells the stories of a rather odd couple escaping from an African village set on fire by the Germans during World War I. He is Charlie, a drunken adventurer, she is Rosie, a spinster busy evangelizing the place with her brother, who died after the shock he got due to the Nazi raid. During the trip down the river the two characters become friends and discover a deep affinity. The African Queen is a winner, it’s filmed excellently with a screenplay full of irony, is written by James Agee and Huston himself, very well acted by the main characters in a state of grace (Humphrey Bogart won the Oscar) and is enriched by superb photography in Technicolor – mainly outdoor - merit of the veteran Jack Cardiff. Of course, the Italian dubbing mixes perfectly with the scenes as well as with Bogey and Katie’s original acting, enchanting the audience. With the bubbly dialogues written by Roberto De Leonardis, for the first time, Humphrey Bogart is dubbed by Gualtiero De Angelis (who gives us the perfect idea of the caustic humour of the original character, the very famous ways of the blood suckers who torment poor Charlie). Andreina Pagnani is also definitely up to the job as the sublime dubber of Miss Hepburn; she is also dealing with a Hollywood legend, generally dubbed by Ms Simoneschi or more often by Wanda Tettoni. Andreina goes from her annoying, petulant tones of the first part of the film to the more sweet and passionate tones of the second part and without a doubt, she makes Katie’s acting a lot more pleasant to our ears, since in the original version, she tends to seem slightly flat. A few funny notes: the boat our heroes are travelling on, The African Queen is called La Regina Africana in the film but the title is actually La Regina d’Africa (The Queen of Africa) and it is not clear why…At the end of the film, when Charlie and Rosie get married before the captain of the German ship, they tell the officer their names, Charles and Rose, that in the dubbed version, are “Carlo” and “Rosa”, a typical habit of Italian dubbing. Finally, as usual we are talking about a classic of cinema that you can’t miss and at the same time we are talking about a classic of dubbing, that should be listened to carefully by many young voices of today.
[original review in Italian by Nunziante Valoroso]