Entertainment & Arts

African Queen boat to be restored

The African Queen
Humphrey Bogart won the best actor Oscar for The African Queen

The British-built boat that co-starred with Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn in 1951 film The African Queen is to be restored and will sail again.

Owner Jim Hendricks, referring to the boat's whistle, told the Key West Citizen it would mean "giving the Queen her voice back".

Mr Hendricks' late father bought the Queen in 1982 for $65,000 (£41,300).

The boat is in a state of disrepair after sitting in a dry dock next to the Key Largo Holiday Inn for 10 years.

Mr Hendricks, who runs the hotel's gift shop, told the Citizen the boat had "several generations of engines built in England".

"She was shipped to Africa and carried over land to Stanleyville where she worked on the Rukki River," he added.

He said the boat, previously named the Livingstone, was acquired by director John Huston and Sam Spiegel in 1950 and renamed the African Queen.

The wooden boat was originally built in 1912 for the British East Africa Railway Company, according to The Times newspaper.

Huston's World War I film tells the story of American Rose Sayer - played by Hepburn - who escapes a village burned down in German East Africa on a boat owned by rough-and-ready Charlie Allnutt, played by Bogart.

The pair then try to convert the African Queen into a torpedo boat.

The film won Bogart the best actor Oscar in 1952.

Much of the film was shot in the Belgian Congo, with some scenes filmed in England.

After it is restored the boat will be used for cruises.

"I'm looking forward to seeing people's reactions when that little steam engine starts up again and we hear that old 'ker-chunk, ker-chunk'," Mr Hendricks told The Times.

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