“What is the idea behind John Huston's 1951 adventure-romance other than putting Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn on a riverboat in Africa and see what happens? The world becomes reduced to the clanky titular ship and the passing jungle, an elemental landscape in which Bogart's worldly wisecracks and Hepburn's clipped pronouncements can flourish.
“The lead's performances are undoubtedly of the star-turn variety, making little effort to conceal their trademark mannerisms. But they're not resting on their laurels either. Scene after scene showcases playful banter and touchingly mild breakthroughs in intimacy. What Hepburn and Bogart find in these scenes is the rich pleasures of affectionate camaraderie and it has everything to do with the slippage that occurs between character and actor.
“Huston's filmmaking eye seems enamored with the jungles of Uganda and Belgian Congo, whose verdant foliage and golden yellows were captured with rich Technicolor by cinematographer Jack Cardiff. Their textured tones look ripe enough to pluck off the screen in the film's painstaking new restoration.” Matthew Connolly, Slant