John Huston in Africa

John Huston in Africa

Courtesy of African Queen


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John Huston in Africa

Presented in conjunction with the upcoming exhibition, “Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa” and the National Museum of African Art.

Welcome by Jeffrey Stine, Chair, Division of Medicine and Science, National Museum of American History. Introduced by Tony Huston.

11:00 AM

The Roots of Heaven (USA, 1958, 121 min.) In Fort Lamy, French Equatorial Africa, idealist Morel launches a one-man campaign to preserve African elephants from extinction, which he sees as the last remaining "roots of heaven." At first, he only finds support from Minna, hostess of the town’s sole nightclub, who is in love with him, and a derelict ex-British Army Major. His crusade gains momentum and he is soon surrounded by an odd assortment of characters: an American TV commentator who becomes impressed and rallies world-wide support; a U.S. photographer, who is sent to do a picture story on Morel and stays on to follow his ideals; a government aide ordered to stop Morel; a professional ivory hunter whose vested interests aren’t the same as Morel’s and Waitari, leader of a Pan-African movement who follows Morel only for the personal good it will do his own campaign. (– Les Adams) Directed by John Huston, based on the novel by Romain Gary. Produced by 20th Century Fox. Filmed in French Equatorial Africa.

1:00 PM

The African Queen (USA/United Kingdom, 1951, 105 min.) Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn go on location with Oscar-winning director John Huston in the African countries of Nairobi, Uganda and the Republic of Congo, and in London to film a timeless jungle adventure based on C.S. Forester’s novel of the same name set in World War I Africa. Bogie gives an Oscar-winning performance as a grizzled skipper, who along with a missionary spinster (Hepburn), take a perilous journey down a tortuous river aboard a rickety old riverboat on a mission to sink an Imperial German gunboat. Bogie and Hepburn make an ideal pair; two misfits bonding together in a common goal. . Directed by John Huston. Produced by Horizon Pictures. Filmed in Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

2:45 PM

White Hunter Black Heart (USA, 1990, 112 min.) The world-famous movie director John Wilson has gone to Africa to make his next movie. He is an obstinate, contrary director who’d rather hunt elephants than takes care of his movie or his film crew. He has become obsessed with one particular elephant and cares for nothing else. Directed and produced by Clint Eastwood. Produced by Warner Bros. Filmed in Zimbabwe. Fictionalized account of John Huston’s experience filming “The African Queen” and his obsession with hunting elephants. 

Discussion with Tony Huston.

Ticket/Reservation Info:

FREE. No reservations required.

National Museum of American History

Warner Bros. Theater

14th St. & Constitution Ave., NW

(Metro: Federal Triangle or Smithsonian)

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