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The African Queen: A Screenplay Analysis
In this beloved Hepburn/Bogart classic, the delicate intertwining of adventure and romance stories offers a solid introduction to conventional three-act structure while also showing how a screenplay can resonate beyond just the external machinations of plot. The many deftly applied religious references – reeds, leeches, pestilence, animals fleeing two-by-two – point the way to another, deeper layer of meaning. These bible motifs seep into our unconscious unnoticed while providing crucial support to a surprising break in the contemporary rules of drama. When looked at in the context of screenwriter James Agee’s internal struggles, the thematic layer of The African Queen is a clear demonstration of the old adage “the more personal it is, the more universal it becomes.”
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