Bogart the King is back with the 'Queen!'
In WWI Africa, a gin-swilling riverboat captain is persuaded by a strait-laced missionary to use his boat to attack an enemy warship.
September 1914, news reaches the colony German Eastern Africa that Germany is at war, so Reverend Samuel Sayer became a hostile foreigner. German imperial troops burn down his mission; he is beaten and dies of fever. His well-educated, snobbish sister Rose Sayer buries him and leaves by the only available transport, the dilapidated river steamboat 'African Queen' of grumpy Charlie Allnut. As if a long difficult journey without any comfort weren't bad enough for such odd companions, she is determined to find a way to do their bit for the British war effort (and avenge her brother) and aims high, as God is obviously on their side: construct their own equipment, a torpedo and the converted steamboat, to take out a huge German warship, the Louisa, which is hard to find on the giant lake and first of all to reach, in fact as daunting an expedition as anyone attempted since the late adventurous explorer John Speakes, but she presses till Charlie accepts to steam up the Ulana, about to brave a German fort, raging rapids, very bloodthirsty parasites and the endlessly branching stream which seems to go nowhere but impenetrable swamps... Despite fierce rows and moral antagonism between a bossy devout abstentionist and a free-spirited libertine drunk loner, the two grow closer to each-other as their quest drags on...
1914 in German East Africa. Brother and sister, Reverend Samuel and Miss Rose Sayer, are British Christian missionaries. They are reliant upon Canadian Charlie Allnut, who owns and operates a run-down river boat called the African Queen, for mail and supplies, Charlie who works as a mechanic at a mine one day away along the river. The Sayers merely tolerate Charlie, who they consider a little too rough around the edges for their proper British and Christian sensibilities. They consider his heavy drinking especially problematic. The Sayers only hear about the war raging in Europe from Charlie, not experiencing any of it until the Germans later raid their village, the Germans believing it the best way to control the natives and co-opt them into military service. Reverend Sayer passes away from the shock experienced by watching what the Germans did. As such, Charlie has to help Rose escape from the ravaged missionary compound before the Germans return. They not only have to beware the Germans, who Charlie knows they have to pass along the only route along the river, but deal with dangers of the river, such as the rapids, and their own differences, especially being in such tight quarters on a 30 foot boat. Those differences are heightened when Charlie would rather wait their time out somewhere secluded along the river, while Rose suggests they torpedo a German gunboat along the way. But all these issues in combination make for strange bedfellows, the two who are dependent upon each other for both their physical and emotional well being.
At the start of World War I, Charlie Allnut is using his old steamer, The African Queen, to ferry supplies to villages in East Africa. When the Rev. Samuel Sayer dies, Charlie agrees to take Sayers' sister, Rose, back to civilization, taking on the Germans at the same time.