Is This How Humphrey Bogart Avoided Dysentery On Set Of The African Queen?

Oftentimes when we see Hollywood movie stars, they're all dolled up for an awards show, or in costume portraying a character on screen. The public has a tendency to assume that the lives of actors and actresses are all glitz and glam, when in a lot of cases, it's tons of hard work and long, long hours in sometimes difficult conditions. This was especially true for the movie industry in its early days and some of Hollywood's most classic films.

In 1951, filming began for a movie called "The African Queen," starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. Based on the novel of the same name, the film follows backwater boat operator Charlie Allnut and English missionary Rose Sayer as they take a journey up a dangerous river in east Africa to attack a German gunboat during World War I (per IMDb). This was 1951 and years before green screens and the fancy technology we have today, so there was only one way director John Huston was going to get the authentic jungle look: by going to the actual jungle, of course.

Canned goods and liquor to the rescue

During the early days of the film industry, filming on location was not nearly as awesome as it sounds. The cast and crew for "The African Queen" arrived and began filming in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in May of 1951. According to the Vintage News, this experience was grueling and uncomfortable for everyone involved. Imagine filming in the middle of a hot jungle, with snakes, ants, mosquitoes, and other deadly creatures running amok. Then on top of that, you don't even have access to clean water. Despite all the dangerous little critters running around, not having water was actually the most dangerous.

Vintage News tells us that the contaminated water caused just about every member of the crew to suffer with stomach issues. Every member except Bogart and Huston, that is. How did they manage that? Bogart spoke for himself and Huston when he said, "all I ate were baked beans, canned asparagus, and Scotch whiskey. Whenever a fly bit Huston or me, it dropped dead." Bogart's son confirmed this by repeating the sentiment that the two ate only canned food and drank scotch (per New York Post). Apparently Bogart thought that doing so helped the two avoid picking up dysentery, while the rest of the crew suffered through filming. Sounds glamorous, doesn't it?

One thing Bogart did pick up, however, was his one and only Academy Award, for his performance as Charlie Allnut.