In the over ten years that DVD has been with us, one title has continued to not make the transition to the digital format, much to the consternation of film fans- The African Queen. But now, the romantic adventure story starring Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart is finally making its way to DVD and Blu-Ray on March 23rd.
As if to make up for the incredibly long wait for John Huston’s classic film, Paramount is kicking out with a 4K HD transfer from the film’s original three-strip Technicolor negatives, restored in a process similar to the one Warner Brothers used for their Wizard Of Oz and Gone With The Wind restorations. The studio’s press release further elaborates-
To ensure that the restored picture matched the filmmakers’ original vision, Paramount arranged a screening of an MPAA archive print for the film’s original cinematographer, Academy Award winner Jack Cardiff*, whose comments were recorded live during the screening. That same archival print was later screened alongside the newly restored version so that the restoration team could ensure that all of Cardiff’s notes had been addressed.
The DVD and Blu-Ray versions will both be available in a standard, single disc edition or a limited edition box set. Both editions will contain the new documentary Embracing Chaos: Making The African Queen, while the box set will include an “audio disc recording of the original Lux Radio Theater broadcast of The African Queen, a reproduction of Katharine Hepburn’s out-of-print memoir The Making of The African Queen or How I Went to Africa with Bogart, Bacall and Huston and Almost Lost My Mind, a Senitype film frame reproduction and postcard reproductions” of images from the film.