The real African Queen is for sale
by Malcolm Maclean
The African Queen, a 35’ steamboat from the film of the same name, has been listed for sale by Berthon International.
The film of The African Queen, directed by John Huston and released in 1951, is cemented in cinematic history and was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 1994. Based on C S Forester's 1934 novel, it was set during the First World War in German-occupied East Africa. Humphrey Bogart won his only Oscar portraying the gin-soaked, ambition-free steamboat captain, Charlie Allnut, who takes onboard prudish missionary Rosie Sayer (Katharine Hepburn).
An engineer named Yank Evans discovered her when building a road around Uganda’s Murchison Falls in the 1980s. His local workers insisted to a man that it was The African Queen. Evans uncovered her steel carcass rusted below the waterline, with a mock boiler and toppled flue. He rebuilt her hull and a friend in England sourced a century-old steam engine (made in Blackburn), which he freighted to Uganda. By the 1990s she was running again but now truly steam-powered.
Sue Grant at Berthon comments: “Apart from the provenance, she is simply a lovely thing and combines the charm of an altogether more gentle age with the glamour of the those big screen names that immortalised C S Forester’s 1934 book that is still compulsory & compulsive reading for so many.”
Currently located on the river Nile, The African Queen, a true Hollywood star, is on the market for £150,000.