READ ✓ The Making of The African ueen Or How I went to Africa with Bogart Bacall and Huston and almost lost my mind

Katharine Hepburn ✓ 1 READ

Hrough thick and through thinFor better and for worseBut not uite until death did we part It was great fun K A uick and delightful read infused with Hepburn's usual uirky charm If you're a fan I would definitely recommend it Rebound Roommate (Men of Lake Tahoe Series, death Cure for the Loneliness did we part It was great fun K A uick and Bijoux en origami delightful read infused with Hepburn's usual uirky charm If you're a fan I would Hookup Master (Men of Lake Tahoe Series, definitely recommend it

SUMMARY Ñ TOBERMOREDRIVEWAYS.CO.UK ✓ Katharine Hepburn

The Making of The African ueen Or How I went to Africa with Bogart Bacall and Huston and almost lost my mind

This book will tell youWhat it was like for me to meetJohn Huston Humphrey Bogart and Lauren BacallIn London an The African ueen starred Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn debuted for Academy Award eligibility in 1951 and was released wide in 1952 If you don't know what it is or why you should care about it nothing I say hereinafter will make one drop of sense to you and you'd far better use your eyeblinks elsewhere Remember to shut the screen door not slam it Papaw's nerves are raggedy at this hour of the dayKatharine Hepburn was the Meryl Streep of her time Well regarded blessed with talent a bit upper crusty in her roles When the story of the making of The African ueen begins she is treading the boards in Shakespearean stuff and frankly pretty bored She needs a challenge to spark her inner V 16 engine A call comes to her friend's home where she's stayingthere's a script based on a novelnothing newbut set in Africa Yes please Mr Producer send it to me and I shall read forthwith Read she does; part's great script's so so soOn page 7 Hepburn writes of her initial meeting with Producer Sam Spiegel wherein a raft of English actors were discussed for the part of Cockney Charlie Alnutt and finally Spiegel says What about Bogart—he could be Canadian And there it was decided Did getting Hepburn mean Spiegel could now stand a chance to get Bogart? Did it occur to him in a divine revelation on that spot? Was he hell bent on the casting of both these American actors to play uber British roles so American audiences would turn out en masse? We know that the Brits put up £250000 about 8 million in today's dollars only after their Film Finance Board overcame demands for Brits to be cast in the British author CS Forester's bestselling 1936 novel about Brits in World War I East AfricaSuch are the things producers must concern themselves with and all at the same time in the same calculation The film's budget in today's dollars was about 30 million and the box office ended up at around 250 million But while Producer Spiegel chatted up the excited and eager Miss Hepburn in the kitchen that first day he had bubkes except a script a director the already almost legendary John Huston and now a star But this star this force of nature Miss Katharine Hepburn wanted to film this Technicolor all outdoors vehicle for some major Hollywood egos on location In Africa that is On big African rivers with real malaria sodden African mosuitoes and real bilharzia causing schistosoma snails We'll see euivocates a rapidly thinning producer; we'll see it in Africa responds Miss Famous Actress with Fans and guess where they filmed itAfrica is hot It's big People in the Belgian Congo don't speak English and even French is touch and go Getting to Africa took days on planes weeks on boats Getting Technicolor cameras to Arizona was a huge deal The mind boggles the spirit uails to imagine getting these multi million 1951 dollar monsters to Africa Not to mention two movie stars Assorted crew camera operators thousands of props safe drinking water fooda director whose gun fetish and desire to murder elephants must be coddledrich Americans all and not a little high handed even among themselvesWe packed our duds and I found myself moving all my odd stools—spears—arrows—chairs—down into the accountant's room on the first floor for him

REVIEW The Making of The African ueen Or How I went to Africa with Bogart Bacall and Huston and almost lost my mind

D in AfricaFor the first timeTo work with them nonstop for about three months And why Come hell or high waterT This is such an extremely happy book as Katherine Hepburn is in scintillating form as she recounts that she enjoyed herself throughout the entire filming of 'The African ueen' in Africa and briefly in London In the title she does say 'and almost lost my mind' but nowhere in the book does she give any indication of this happening she so much enjoys every minute of the experience All I can think is that the monotony of living for three months in primitive conditions in the jungle in strange surroundings played on her mind but I stress that at no point in the narrative does she overtly say thisKatherine covers the preparations for spending time on location in the Belgian Congo and discusses the personnel that she was to be involved with Those people are a diverse group but Katherine adapts very easily to living and acting with them She discusses all the uirks of John Huston and the delight of working with Bogie who was uite an unusual but very likeable character Bogie was accompanied by his wife Lauren Bacall who wasn't in the movieThe filming of 'The African ueen' was no easy task and Katherine tells of the trials and tribulations of working on the film on and off the Ruiki River and how taxing it was travelling to and from the location shots At one point the boat sinks and it takes an almighty effort from cast crew and local natives to raise her so that filming can continue In addition torrential rainstorms leave cloying mud underfoot but Katherine copes with it all with aplomb hardly ever bemoaning the sometimes awful working conditionsProducer Sam Spiegel flits in and out of the narrative and Katherine is amused by the different priorities of director John Huston and Spiegel; one wants to carry on regardless of any obstacles as he has a film to direct while the other is ever conscious of the money restrictions and wants to get the whole thing over as uickly and as inexpensively as possible But even so there are no major fall outs between them or any of the cast and Katherine finds her native houseboy Tahili Bokumba particularly helpful in keeping her in prime condition both mentally and physically so that she can complete the movie with as little discomfort as possible One thing that Tahili is particularly good at is providing her with breakfast every morning on her hut's verandah from where she welcomes the day with a cigarette while listening to and watching the sights and sounds of the jungle Once location shooting is over it is back to London to complete the filming in the studio where a huge tank is constructed to be used for static river scenes with a part constructed African ueen At one point the tank does spring a leak but fortunately contingency plans are on hand to ensure the film is completed successfully Incidentally Katherine does remark that one of the stars Robert Morley missed the fun of the jungle for he did all his filming in London and when he was buried in the African jungle a double took his placeIt is a lovely book story lovingly and vividly descriptively with many candid photographs told and it certainly leaves the reader with a desire to see the movie once this time in a new light no matter how many times one has already seen it


10 thoughts on “The Making of The African ueen Or How I went to Africa with Bogart Bacall and Huston and almost lost my mind

  1. says:

    The African ueen starred Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn debuted for Academy Award eligibility in 1951 and was released wide in 1952 If you don't know what it is or why you should care about it nothing I say hereinafter will make one drop of sense to you and you'd far better use your eyeblinks elsewhere Remember to shut the screen door not slam it Papaw's nerves are raggedy at this hour of the dayKatharine Hepburn was the Meryl Streep of her time Well regarded blessed with talent a bit upper crusty in her roles When the story of the making of The African ueen begins she is treading the boards in Shakespearean stuff and frankly pretty bored She needs a challenge to spark her inner V 16 engine A call comes to her friend's home where she's stayingthere's a script based on a novelnothing newbut set in Africa Yes please Mr Producer send it to me and I shall read forthwith Read she does; part's great script's so so soOn page 7 Hepburn writes of her initial meeting with Producer Sam Spiegel wherein a raft of English actors were discussed for the part of Cockney Charlie Alnutt and finally Spiegel says What about Bogart—he could be Canadian And there it was decided Did getting Hepburn mean Spiegel could now stand a chance to get Bogart? Did it occur to him in a divine revelation on that spot? Was he hell bent on the casting of both these American actors to play uber British roles so American audiences would turn out en masse? We know that the Brits put up £250000 about 8 million in today's dollars only after their Film Finance Board overcame demands for Brits to be cast in the British author CS Forester's bestselling 1936 novel about Brits in World War I East AfricaSuch are the things producers must concern themselves with and all at the same time in the same calculation The film's budget in today's dollars was about 30 million and the box office ended up at around 250 million But while Producer Spiegel chatted up the excited and eager Miss Hepburn in the kitchen that first day he had bubkes except a script a director the already almost legendary John Huston and now a star But this star this force of nature Miss Katharine Hepburn wanted to film this Technicolor all outdoors vehicle for some major Hollywood egos on location In Africa that is On big African rivers with real malaria sodden African mosuitoes and real bilharzia causing schistosoma snails We'll see euivocates a rapidly thinning producer; we'll see it in Africa responds Miss Famous Actress with Fans and guess where they filmed itAfrica is hot It's big People in the Belgian Congo don't speak English and even French is touch and go Getting to Africa took days on planes weeks on boats Getting Technicolor cameras to Arizona was a huge deal The mind boggles the spirit uails to imagine getting these multi million 1951 dollar monsters to Africa Not to mention two movie stars Assorted crew camera operators thousands of props safe drinking water fooda director whose gun fetish and desire to murder elephants must be coddledrich Americans all and not a little high handed even among themselvesWe packed our duds and I found myself moving all my odd stools—spears—arrows—chairs—down into the accountant's room on the first floor for him to send to New York for me Things almost impossible to pack A stink of a job to foist off on anyone You remember him—the accountant—the rightful inhabitant of my third floor room How could I be so awful? Apparently easilyIt's her saving grace that Hepburn writing this book in the 1980s realized that she was a Bigfoot stomping all over everyone Didn't stop her probably wouldn't if she'd gone again but really now is any celebrity likely to behave differently? Not oftenThe shoot is huge The crew isn't all in place when they arrive The advance construction of different things must needs be torn down and rebuilt the piece supposed to fit here don't fit there in short the bog standard common as pigtracks problems of doing a complicated thing in a limited amount of time Miss Hepburn acts as costume lady invents a solution to wilting chapeau syndrome super creative impressed me a lot seamstresses does hairI never have a permanent for it makes hair feel funny it makes it smell and I'm a sort of impractical character Love the feeling of soft clean hair Can't remember that anyone ever made a comment certainly not either of those jerks But please yourself and at least someone is pleasedThose jerks are Bogie and John Huston Hepburn's costar and director Her friends She has little enough to say about Bogart a good deal to say about Bacall who came with him but not all of it kind She's also not kind about Huston's inability to be on time his indifference to the reality of others' feelings emotions existence his bloodlust But beginning on page 81 and ending on page 83 Miss Hepburn the journeyman actress recalls Director Huston's performance notes on Rosie Sayer's unsmiling serious countenance How hard it is to watch a serious face for so longhow Mrs Roosevelt an unhandsome lady dealt with a similar issueAnd Miss Hepburn the journeyman actress writing at a distance of thirty five years still lights up at the memory of receiving her entire performance in a short simple perfectly observed and conveyed image from a genius of image making She went on to make the film on a perfect note sustained throughout by the single conversation and its illuminating insight It is the most gorgeous moment in the bookThere aren't a lot of anecdotes in the book the kind you'll whip out at parties to improve the shining hour but there are lovely and honest observations a lot of unnoticed privilege behind her uite self aware self regard and photos Lots of themforty fivefrom a man called Alfred E Lemon and some from a Life magazine photographer called Eliot Elisofon The permissions must've taken forever to clear The text design is clear and simple using Garamond type and generous white space around the scattered halftone reproductions including both endsheets The binding is smyth sewn with real cloth on the boardsThe book is as much an artifact of a vanished world as is the film it describes as is the now gone writer of this personal and charming memoir Time pressed on her those years so clear in memory but so distant in time still eagerly sought by the FansIt's strange being a movie actor The product goes out—it's popular—it's unpopular—or it's somewhere in between And it's always to me a real part of myself I mean it represents my own decision to do it Was I wise? Was I dumb? I've tried never to do anything just for the money I do it because I love it—the idea and the characters And my oh my it is great when you—when the people like it too and make it theirs—that is the real rewardSo suddenly thirty five years have rushed by Bogie has gone Spiegel the producer has gone The ueen herself is still alive so are John Huston and Betty Bacall and Peter Viertel the German boat captain and IIt's hard to get old and lose people and places and memories that meant something are increasingly one's own unshareable treasures What matters in the end? Is it something anyone can see or is it something so buried there's never going to be another soul who sees it whole and entire?Katharine Hepburn was a star but she was a genius because she had an answer to that uestion one that most people I think can agree with and buy into It is her last word on the topic of this bookview spoilerNow what do you suppose ever happened to Charlie and Rosie? 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 ueen—and laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh hide spoiler


  2. says:

    This book left me unexpectedly irritated Why? Because this isn't a book about the making of The African ueen It's a book about whatever relationship Katharine Hepburn had with the film's director John Huston I suppose I should back up a bitKatharine Hepburn is one of those celebrities I don't think I'll ever be able to figure out She pings my gaydar like no other she was an outspoken feminist who spent her life dressing like a boy she never remarried after her divorce she never had children she apparently had a massive lust for ladies and she had decade long relationships with women Even Spencer Tracy thought she was a lesbian when her first met her So she was the most obviously closeted actress ever but she also managed to sleep with half of the men in HollywoodAnd what about Spencer Tracy anyway? We've all had the HepburnTracy pairing shoved in our faces and Hepburn did drop her career for 5 years to care for him But just because they were a brand with great onscreen chemistry doesn't mean that they weren't bearding for each otherWhether or not the Tracy thing was real it doesn't change the fact that Hepburn had a real talent for getting married men to fall in love with her Tracy John Ford and Leland Hayward to name a few Given Hepburn's track record I'm guessing that Lauren Bacall came along for the shooting of The African ueen for reasons other than merely accompanying her husband smart girl Whatever happened between Hepburn and Huston during the making of The African ueen I'm guessing Hepburn didn't come out the winner in the relationship and thus she wrote a book that was is a playful slap at Huston What's maddening is that Hepburn never cops to it She alludes to it drops hints and dances around it but she never offers up the goods Sure the book is interesting The poor cast and crew of The African ueen got to deal with lots of fun things on location in Africa from army ants and alligators to swarming tsetse flies and bouts of dysentery There are even smirk worthy moments such as Hepburn having a bucket by her feet for puking between takes while Bogart and Huston who had spent a majority of their time in Africa in a drunken stupor remained in perfect health Yet there is very little here about the actual production of the film or what happened on set And the most interesting tidbits have absolutely nothing to do with the making of the movie When Hepburn has still has disdain for Huston she takes to observing Lauren Bacall and says Let's look at Betty Bogart She is young and she has lovely tawny skin and she has the most fabulous sandy hair Beautiful whether it's straight or curled In fact you've never seen her until you've seen her in her bright green wrapper on the way to the outhouse in the early morning with her hair piled up on her head and no lipstick or anything else Her sleepy slanty green eyes and her common sense look and her lost voice and her lanky figure and her apparent fund of pugilistic good nature Am I projecting my modern sensibilities on to KH or is she checking out Betty Bogart? I suppose it doesn't matter Lauren Bacall was gorgeous Anyone would have gawked at her Whatever Moving on Hepburn proceeds to ramble on to such an extent that if I looked at one em dash I was sure I'd gouge my own eyes out I swear the book was dictated Among the sparsely detailed stories of the pain in the ass that it was to film this picture in Africa with the eual pain in the ass John Huston at the helm something happensHepburn loves the cabin that Huston has built for her and she throws her arms around him but she still hates him because he's unprofessional Then he gives her the best goddamndest piece of direction she's ever heard and she has a new respect for him Fine Later she's out wandering in some African village alone one evening runs into Huston and they go off somewhere and share a bottle of wine on a hilltop She doesn't remember what they talked about but it was magic When they wander down and join the rest of the cast and crew Hepburn notes that Betty was disgusted with me and there's a lot to be said for sinning So what happened? Tell us for Chrissakes And the next day the cast and crew remark that Hepburn has fallen under Huston's spell as she takes off on a game hunting safari with him And no details Argh Eventually after a day of filming and puking Hepburn goes back to her cabin and falls asleep while Huston and company go get lit up at some local Congolese cantina A wasted Huston wanders into Hepburn's cabin that night and this happens 'Just stay alseep Katie dear Stay asleep Asleep asleep' And he rubbed my back with his smooth strong hands And my head and my neck and my hands and my feet Such a blessing Took the trouble from me It's true the laying on of hands So uiet so sweet so soothing He was gentle I slept I don't remember what happened when he stopped Yeah Sure you don't Jesus If one of my drunk guy friends came into my tropical hut and proceeded to give me a full body massage never mind Just friends? Suuuuuure So I guess this book hasn't done much for me than make me resent old Hollywood for its cover ups Gary Cooper Rock Hudson Cary Grant Greta Garbo and the time I grew up in Sally Ride Jodie Foster the Defense of Marriage Act Rosie O'Donnell and Ellen playing straight on TV until the early 2000s that perpetuated all of the bullshit It doesn't matter if Katharine Hepburn was gay or straight swung both ways with Tracy checked out Bacall or seduced Huston Slut or straight laced it doesn't matter But I wish that it had just been okay to tell the truth about these things about being bisexual sleeping around and seducing other women's husbands It would have made for a better story and a way better book And it would have made growing up a lot different for everyone As for Katharine HepburnI'll never figure her out Decent book so long as you can tolerate Hepburn's staccato style and you're not looking to find out anything about what it was like to make the movie I'm hacking off a star for feeling like I was only told half of what could have been a riveting truth


  3. says:

    This is Katherine Hepburn's first book and she doesn't give a fuck She writes how she wants to write and does not care about any rules or style but her own She writes how you expect her to speak very stoccato with trails of sentence fragments often separated by dashes She will describe a room by listing nouns Heat hotel French speaking Belgians no panes of glass in windows porches high ceilings blinds mosuito nets over the beds painted cement floors dark spare bathroom watch the bugs watch the water thoughtful people took care of us afternoon and evening For the most part a coherent picture emerges but sometimes you loose your place or can't make the leap from one of her thoughts to another But she is unapologetic this is Africa as she experienced it It is Hepburn at her most Hepburnish brash bold strangely and specifically neurotic she can't go to the bathroom when others are nearby and often uietly vulnerable I was rather shocked at her selfishnesskicking the studio accountant out of his room because his room was better than hers but she openly acknowledges that it was a mean move on her part in retrospect She paints a loving portrait of Bogart Lauren Bacall and John Huston and their adventures filming the African ueen faced with shipwreck disease and poor conditions Her views of the native Africans are jarring though typical for the times She is fascinated by their uaint ways and can't really tell one from the other until she becomes friendly with her boy the native assigned to wait on her Even then she holds him at a distance not uite on the level of the white settlers but special to her It is a fun behind the scenes memoir written by one of the most adventurous and authentic women of all time It is not a great work of art but it is honest heartfelt and unapologetic


  4. says:

    As a young child my mom and I watched the classic movie The African ueen together At first I wasn't too thrilled it was in black and white HORRORS but the movie sucked me in and thus began my appreciation for the classic movies especially anything with the great stars including Katharine HepburnThis book was penned by Katharine because people kept asking her what it was like to work with Bogart so she decided it would be easier to write it down once rather than repeat herself hundreds of times It's written much like a person would speak half sentences fractured thoughts at times etc which I wasn't expecting It's filled with photographs of the making of the movie Hepburn was not well known when she did the movie but she was a strong woman with a strong voice and she insisted if the movie would be called The African ueen it needed to be filmed in Africa The stars faced exactly what you would expect hordes of insects sweltering heat high humidity freezing nights sicknessand they also found what they didn't expect a love for the continent and sometimes love between the starsIt's not a lengthy book I read it in the course of a day If you're a fan of Hepburn Bogart or classic movies you will enjoy this book too


  5. says:

    This is such an extremely happy book as Katherine Hepburn is in scintillating form as she recounts that she enjoyed herself throughout the entire filming of 'The African ueen' in Africa and briefly in London In the title she does say 'and almost lost my mind' but nowhere in the book does she give any indication of this happening she so much enjoys every minute of the experience All I can think is that the monotony of living for three months in primitive conditions in the jungle in strange surroundings played on her mind but I stress that at no point in the narrative does she overtly say thisKatherine covers the preparations for spending time on location in the Belgian Congo and discusses the personnel that she was to be involved with Those people are a diverse group but Katherine adapts very easily to living and acting with them She discusses all the uirks of John Huston and the delight of working with Bogie who was uite an unusual but very likeable character Bogie was accompanied by his wife Lauren Bacall who wasn't in the movieThe filming of 'The African ueen' was no easy task and Katherine tells of the trials and tribulations of working on the film on and off the Ruiki River and how taxing it was travelling to and from the location shots At one point the boat sinks and it takes an almighty effort from cast crew and local natives to raise her so that filming can continue In addition torrential rainstorms leave cloying mud underfoot but Katherine copes with it all with aplomb hardly ever bemoaning the sometimes awful working conditionsProducer Sam Spiegel flits in and out of the narrative and Katherine is amused by the different priorities of director John Huston and Spiegel; one wants to carry on regardless of any obstacles as he has a film to direct while the other is ever conscious of the money restrictions and wants to get the whole thing over as uickly and as inexpensively as possible But even so there are no major fall outs between them or any of the cast and Katherine finds her native houseboy Tahili Bokumba particularly helpful in keeping her in prime condition both mentally and physically so that she can complete the movie with as little discomfort as possible One thing that Tahili is particularly good at is providing her with breakfast every morning on her hut's verandah from where she welcomes the day with a cigarette while listening to and watching the sights and sounds of the jungle Once location shooting is over it is back to London to complete the filming in the studio where a huge tank is constructed to be used for static river scenes with a part constructed African ueen At one point the tank does spring a leak but fortunately contingency plans are on hand to ensure the film is completed successfully Incidentally Katherine does remark that one of the stars Robert Morley missed the fun of the jungle for he did all his filming in London and when he was buried in the African jungle a double took his placeIt is a lovely book story lovingly and vividly descriptively with many candid photographs told and it certainly leaves the reader with a desire to see the movie once this time in a new light no matter how many times one has already seen it


  6. says:

    Such an interesting life Such an interesting person I love reading her books it's like you are having a conversation with her and you are her best friend So warm so dear


  7. says:

    A uick and delightful read infused with Hepburn's usual uirky charm If you're a fan I would definitely recommend it


  8. says:

    Bogart Katie what's happened to you? You're a decent human beingHepburn Not any I'm not If you obey all the rules you miss all the funThe Making of the African ueen OR How I Went to Africa with Bogart Bacall and Huston and Almost Lost My Mind 1987 by Katharine Hepburn is the actress's recollections of her great African adventure some thirty years after the fact She tells us straight off that she never kept a diary but later in life she often wished she had because when you've lived as long as I haveyou can't even remember the plot of many of the movies you've made or the plays really not anything about them or who or why So the reader might be tempted to take her memoir with a grain of salt But she also tells us that there are some happenings you can't forget There they are A series of facts pictures realities This happened to me with The African ueen I remember it in minute detail I can see every second of its making and of me at the time And we know that there are indeed memories like that and are ready to take her at her wordOf course as with many celebrity books one is also tempted to wonder if Katharine Hepburn really did write this I don't know if she did sit down and write it all out or type it all out but this is most distinctly her voice If she didn't write it herself I suspect she dictated it to someone who produced it exactly as she told it Full of vim and vinegar and a spirit of adventure that comes through in so many of her characters particularly that of Miss Rose Sayer in this movie Hepburn tells us that she always wanted to go to Africa and she certainly didn't want to miss out on any adventures while she was there up to and including going on an elephant hunt she didn't shoot any and neither did any in her party with John Huston who was a very poor shot and certain NOT to be much protection if there was any danger If I have one complaint about her memoir it is that it is less about the making of the movie than it is the use of the movie's production as a backdrop to Hepburn's memories of Africa Not that those memories and her story aren't worth reading about they are but it's not uite the story the reader expects Which explains a four star rating instead of five The book has an overall feel of an afternoon visit with Hepburn The memories pour out of her like the reminiscences which might come up in a friendly chat It makes for an enjoyable read and an interesting peek into the life of one of America's great actresses She not only gives great descriptions of the locales in Africa but has also given us plenty of pictures from behind the scenes on location First posted on my blog My Reader's Block Please reuest permission before reposting Thanks


  9. says:

    How could you go wrong with Bogie Katherine Hepburn John Houston and one of the classic films of all time gathered together in these pages Hepburn who writes as charmingly and as eccentrically as she acts kept a diary of the making of The African ueen and it is delightful Eccentric funny and full of pictures that I have never seen before it puts you in the middle of the heat the insects and the free flowing liuor of the location shooting A great trip for the movie buff


  10. says:

    I dare you to read this and not hear Kate’s voice Delightful from beginning to end


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