Hatari (1962)

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    Information from IMDb

    Plot Summary
    John Wayne and his ensemble cast cavort over the African landscape filling orders from zoo's for wild animals. Bruce Cabot plays "the Indian", a womanizing sharpshooter who is gored by a rhino in the opening scenes of the film. This becomes a running theme through the movie; their bad luck in catching rhinos, and provides the climactic ending chase. While Bruce is in the hospital, Elsa Martinelli shows up as a woman photographer from a Swiss zoo, and John wants to send her packing. She strongarms the Duke into letting her stay by promising that her zoo will buy most of their animals this season if she's allowed to go along on the hunts and take photos. Hardy Kruger, Gerard Blain, Michelle Girardon and Valentin de Vargas round out the group. They traipse over the African landscape capturing animals; Elsa also has a running gag where she collects baby elephants as the movie goes along. In the end she's acquired three of them.
    Summary written by Marta Dawes

    Full Cast
    John Wayne .... Sean Mercer
    Hardy Krüger .... Kurt Muller (as Hardy Kruger)
    Elsa Martinelli .... Anna Maria 'Dallas' D'Allesandro
    Red Buttons .... Pockets
    Gérard Blain .... Charles 'Chips' Maurey (as Gerard Blain)
    Bruce Cabot .... Little Wolf aka The Indian
    Michèle Girardon .... Brandy de la Court (as Michele Girardon)
    Valentin de Vargas .... Luis Francisco Garcia Lopez
    Eduard Franz .... Dr. Sanderson
    Queenie Leonard .... Nurse (scenes deleted)
    Jon Chevron .... Joseph (uncredited)
    Sam Harris .... Man in store (uncredited)
    Cathy Lewis .... Voice of Radio Operator (uncredited)
    Eric Rungren .... (uncredited)
    Henry Scott .... Sikh clerk (uncredited)
    Emmett Smith .... Bartender (uncredited)
    Jack Williams .... Man (uncredited)

    Writing credits
    Harry Kurnitz (story)
    Leigh Brackett

    Original Music
    Henry Mancini

    Russell Harlan

    Carey Loftin .... stunts (uncredited)
    Chuck Roberson .... stunt double: John Wayne (uncredited)
    Ted White .... stunts (uncredited)
    Jack Williams .... stunts (uncredited)

    * According to director Howard Hawks, all the animal captures in the picture were performed by the actual actors; no stuntmen or animal handlers were substituted onscreen. The rhino really did escape, and the actors really did have to recapture it-- and Hawks included the sequence for its realism.

    * Congo, the baby elephant in the filming, died in November 2000 at the Dubbo Zoo. He was the only male elephant in captivity in Australia at the time.

    * Hatari means "danger" in Swahili.

    * Composer Henry Mancini wrote a brief piece of incidental music to go with a scene where a baby elephant is taken for a walk. The simple little song became an international hit as "Baby Elephant Walk", and has been recorded by a large number of artists and in many different styles.

    * Much of the action sequence audio had to be re-dubbed due to John Wayne's cursing while wrestling with the animals.

    * Howard Hawks originally wanted to make the film with John Wayne and Clark Gable, but Paramount would not raise the budget to finance Gable.

    Jan Oelofse, the animal supervisor, captured and tamed all the animals in Africa; the elephants, leopard, the cheetahs, and flew with 40 animals aboard a DC6 across Africa, through South America to Hollywood to continue scenes shot in Hollywood

    Red Buttons, a liberal Democrat, later said that he greatly regretted his "gross misapprehension" line.

    According to Hardy Kruger's autobiography, the film crew rented all vehicles available in Tanzania, even the privately owned ones.

    Howard Hawks allegedly bought Elsa Martinelli's tight fitting safari suits himself at a New York department store.

    Little Wolf was a chief of the Cheyenne tribe in 1878. He, and another chief, led the Cheyenne off their Oklahoma reservation and took them back to their homeland in Montana. This despite hundreds of U.S. Cavalry who tried to stop them. This was called the "Cheyenne Autumn Trail" and is the basis for the movie Cheyenne Autumn (1964).

    Budgeted at $6 million, Hatari! was filmed in East Africa from November 1960 to May 1961. All on-location shooting took place in Tanzania – Mount Meru, Serengeti National Park, Arusha National Park and Tanganjika National Park. Reportedly, John Wayne bagged an elephant while on the Dark Continent, killing it with a .458 Winchester Magnum rifle.

    Many critics carped that the film seemed like a lazy vacation for Hawks. They were partly right - there was no finished script and Hawks relished the chance of filming what he wanted on location in Tanganyika--now Tanzania--far away from the watchful eye of the studio, happily burning through their $6 million budget.

    * Audio/visual unsynchronized: During one of the animal chase scenes, the truck makes screeching sounds as it turns, though it is not on a paved road.

    * Audio/visual unsynchronized: Several of the animals (especially the rhino) make sounds that they don't make in the wild.

    * Continuity: While riding on the front of a Jeep, Wayne is water-soaked when the vehicle runs through a stream; in all subsequent scenes, Wayne is dry.

    * Factual errors: When the doctor needs a blood donor for Little Wolf near the beginning of the film, he states that it will be difficult to find suitable blood because the type is AB-. In fact though the type itself is rare, an AB- recipient can accept blood from any Rh- donor: A-/B-/o- are all ok, and type-specific AB- blood isn't required. Rh- blood is less common than Rh+, but not that rare (particularly o-, the universal donor).

    * Continuity: Side shots of Dallas standing in a red shirt under a porch with two other people show them all in shadow, while the frontal shots are all in direct sunlight.

    * Continuity: The crate used to transport the animals is taken off the truck to load an animal, and in the next scene, it is back on the truck with no explanation.

    * Continuity: When Sean Mercer first catches Dallas with cold cream on her face, there is no cream on her chin; the scene cuts to Sean, and then when it cuts back to Dallas, she has cream covering her entire face, including her chin.

    * Factual errors: The group is returning from the hospital in the two vehicles; all the characters are singing on the radio with each other. This cannot be done over this type of radio. Only one vehicle can talk over the radio at one time.

    * Continuity: In the opening scene where they are chasing a rhino, The Indian can be seen clutching his left leg where the rhino will gore him in a later shot a few seconds later. It appears to be a longer shot of the one just after the rhino gores him.

    * Continuity: In the opening sequence, chasing the Rhino, the catching truck is turning left and you can see half of the windshield is missing and the character of Dallas is in the cab. In the preceding few seconds and the following scene Pockets is alone in the cab. An almost identical take is later used in the buffalo chase.

    * Continuity: While Sean is showing Pockets how to milk a goat, and Timbo scares the line of goats, Sean falls backwards onto the ground with the bucket of goats milk landing on the ground behind him. When the angle changes, the bucket of goat's milk is now on top of Sean's head.

    * Factual errors: It is impossible to sing into a two-way radio and hear the other party at the same time.

    * Continuity: When the jeep is stalled in the river and Chips spots the alligator and warns Kirk, you can see that the water level is at the top of the front left tire. When Kirk connects the chain to the truck to pull the jeep out of the river, the water level on the front left tire is half way down. Either the jeep moved closer to the bank or the river level fell dramatically.

    * Miscellaneous: The aforementioned missing left windshield of the catching truck, when in place, is also hinged along the top. Sometimes, from the passenger side of the vehicle you can see the hinge and a visible gap between the windshield and the cab frame. In addition, the windshield cracks partway open at the film's beginning. Racing across the uneven terrain of the Ngorongoro Crater, the catching truck goes hurtling over a ridge, and as it slams down, the left panel windshield comes ajar.

    * Continuity: In the opening chase when Sean yells, "Watch her Pockets! Don't lose her!" he is facing to the rear of the catching truck and holding the pole in that direction. The rhinoceros is obviously behind them. The film then cuts to the erroneous take from the buffalo pursuit with Sean facing to the front. As noted, Dallas is in the passenger seat!

    * Continuity: Pockets grip on and placement of his beer bottle keeps changing. In the scene where Dallas and he have their first "heart to heart", he sometimes switches his hand hold on the bottle from one shot to the next or has the bottle above the arm rest then suddenly below. The cigarette pack he takes out of his breast pocket a second time and holds in his left hand? That too, is back in the pocket come the cut.

    * Plot holes: Dallas makes no further attempt to finish dressing herself after her distraction causes Pockets to crash the vehicle.

    * Continuity: When Wayne as Sean Mercer ask to have the ropes loosened on the fallen rhinoceros, both it and he are well behind the catching truck. However, in the following medium and close-up shots, when the rhino slashes his horn at Wayne, the animal's head is even with the catching truck's passenger door. Also, Wayne's dub: "Kasa kamba! Loosen this up a little." is repeated.

    * Continuity: Driving in circles? The crew's trip to the hospital, during the main credits, traverses the same countryside hours apart. The Film Editor and the Technical Advisor's credits cover a late afternoon pan shot. Three images later, though the sun has set, Howard Hawk's credit is covering the identical landscape pan we just saw. Poor Little Wolf.

    * Continuity: During the zebra chase scene, (the scene where the chase truck plunges into the water while John Wayne is sitting on the front and gets soaked but is dry in later shots), there are shots looking back at the truck showing Dallas leaning out the left window behind John Wayne with one arm hanging out, however during that chase there are several short scenes of the interior of the truck that are mixed in, showing the driver (Red Buttons) and Dallas sitting inside the truck commenting to each other on the chase and Dallas is not hanging out of the window, then the next scene shows her hanging out again.

    * Continuity: Prior to the giraffe capture when Dallas is running towards the truck, then jumps in, at the compound, and tries to finish dressing, she is wearing neutral color boots. After the capture, back at the compound, she is wearing red shoes or boots that seem to match the red shirt she is wearing.

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Locations
    Arusha National Park, Tanzania
    Meru, Tanzania
    Mount Meru, Tanzania
    Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
    Tanganjika National Park, Tanzania

    Watch this Trailer

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 11 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Hatari! (pronounced [hɑtɑri], Swahili for "Danger!") is a 1962 American film directed by Howard Hawks
    and starring John Wayne.
    Portraying a group of professional animal catchers in Africa working for zoos,
    the film includes dramatic wildlife chases and the magnificent backdrop scenery
    of Mount Meru, a dormant volcano.

    Hatari! was filmed on location in Tanganyika (in what is now northern Tanzania).

    The film gathers its several characters from different parts of the world:
    Sean Mercer (John Wayne, USA), Pockets (Red Buttons, USA),
    Anna Maria 'Dallas' D'Alessandro (Elsa Martinelli, Italy),
    Kurt Müller (Hardy Krüger, Germany), Brandy De la Court (Michele Girardon, France),
    Charles 'Chips' Maurey (Gerard Blain, France), Luis Francisco Garcia Lopez (Valentin de Vargas, Mexico).

    I do not rate this film so high!
    I found it boring, tedious and too long!!
    In today's, in environment, this film would
    probably never be made, the sight of wild animals,
    being caught and locked in cages, being all too much
    for the animal right activists!!

    Although, the film was mostly ad-libbed, it showed,
    and Duke did, most of his own stunts,
    one of which, he actually roped a 450-pound
    wildebeast in 36 seconds!!

    The love story with a much younger woman,
    similar to Donovan's Reef made a year later,
    once again,showed, that Duke needed to move on
    from the leading man, love, role type!

    In later years Duke was to confirm that by the time Hatari! was made,
    his days of romantic leading men were over.
    He had been particuarly displeased with the bedroom and kissing scenes,
    he was too old and she too young for such a relationship.

    Here's an interesting link,
    to the actual film location,
    Hatari Lodge

    User Review


    The most hilarious John Wayne movie
    2 May 2003 | by (lcover001) (fresno, California)

    I first saw this movie in 1962. Today it is still as fresh and funny as it was forty years ago. And it is so politically incorrect! It should be put on a pedestal!!! Think about it cool and suave dudes out in the wilds of Africa capturing wild animals for zoos! It's great to see those these folks, rousting beasts during the day, dancing around the piano, while they hold a martini in one hand and a beautiful girl wrapped around the other. The Henry Mancini music is a pleasure to listen to. Just try to obtain a rare CD of the Hatari soundtrack. The humor in the movie is largely supplied by an adorable Red Buttons, playing a former New York cabbie who currently acts as manic truck driver for John Wayne on his daily quest to capture animals. And why is Buttons now driving in Africa? His explanation is that the animals are like New York drivers, so he feels right at home. So run, don't walk to your nearest video rental joint. Rent this baby and spend the next few hours laughing with a movie from a different time and world view.

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 6 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Good thing we don't all like the same things Keith. I see I am pretty much alone in rating Hatari! as high as I do.

    1. I seem to like Howard Hawks humor and I don't find it boring since the whole movie is filled with it.
    2. I think this is a good role for John Wayne even though he is neither a soldier or a cowboy. I like the Sean Mercer character.
    3. It's an excellent family film and I could see it with my nephews and niece even though a couple of them are too young to understand more than a little of the dialogue.

    On a more personal note, but maybe for me the most important reason:
    4. I lived for about 6 months in Kenya when I was 4 years old and some of my first really strong memories are from one of their nature preserves. Seeing all these animals make me feel happy.

    As for not being possible to make this movie today because of animal rights activists you may be righ, but I'm not sure you are. After all they didn't kill the animals.

    Popol Vuh

  • Here's another that enjoys Hatari! each and every time I watch the film. Whether its the magnificent scenery, the personal interactions, Elephant Walk, or the light hearted nature of the storyline, I rate this as a film truly enjoyable to watch. I have never found it to be too long, too tedious, or too boring.

  • Quote

    Originally posted by erscolo@Jan 22 2006, 06:05 AM
    Here's another that enjoys Hatari! each and every time I watch the film. Whether its the magnificent scenery, the personal interactions, Elephant Walk, or the light hearted nature of the storyline, I rate this as a film truly enjoyable to watch. I have never found it to be too long, too tedious, or too boring.


    Same here!I've always enjoyed watching that film it's in my top 5 I say.

  • Well, I am another one who enjoyed this film. I always have. I think allot of times people get to caught up in the little things and forget to just watch a movie for entertainment. I also agree on the point being made about it being a excellent family movie. Fun movie and my kids love the elephant chase at the end of the movie.

    Life is hard, its even harder when your stupid!!
    -John Wayne

  • Memorable Quotes

    [first lines]
    Sean Mercer: [over two-way radio] Kurt, can you hear me?
    Kurt Muller: Go ahead, Sean.
    Sean Mercer: At about eleven o'clock... right in the middle of that herd of wildebeest - see him?
    Kurt Muller: Oh, that's a good one.
    Sean Mercer: Let's go; start out easy.

    [last lines]
    Dallas: Oh, no... go away! Go away, now! Timbo, go away, go away. Timbo! Timbo, go away! Timbo...
    [the bed collapses from the elephant's weight]
    Sean Mercer: Aawwww...
    Dallas: Go away!

    Sean Mercer: Pockets, what are you doing?
    Pockets: I'm trying to milk the goat.
    Sean Mercer: Well, that's the wrong kind of a goat - that's a ram!


    Best Wishes
    London- England

  • Amen to that! As much as I love the Duke and his movies, not all are as family friendly as others, but Hatari has components that satisfy even the younger members of our little audience (our family :rolleyes: ).

    So while I would agree that it is not among the most memorable John Wayne movies, it is a good time every now and then.

    Chester :newyear:

  • I'll throw my hat in the ring here too! I've always enjoyed "Hatari." The scenery is great, the episodes involving the capture of the animals has excitement (I've always enjoyed "Pockets" deliberations toward capturing the monkeys) and I've always liked Hawks' dialogue which has an ad lib character. Not the Duke's best effort, but enjoyable for all its elements.
    Cheers - Jay :D

    Cheers - Jay:beer:
    "Not hardly!!!"

  • Keith, when was this actually filmed? You have 1962 in your original post but, is that the release date? I ask that for this reason. In your facts section, you said that Hawks wanted Clark Gable in this along with Wayne. Gable died in 1960 so, unless pre-production began before he died, it would've been impossible for him to star in this.

  • A real Howard Hawks classic. This movie is so good it could have been an hour longer in my humble opinion. It has a great feeling to it, the sets and interaction between the players is great. My favorite Howard Hawks movie is El Dorado where Hawks creates the same pleasant atmosphere but within a much smaller environment.
    The scenes are great and some magnificent filming has been done. Certainly in my top 10 of John Wayne movies.

  • Hi all,
    I watched yesterday Hatari! for the first time and really like it/ It is a very entertaining lighthearted movie. Some moments and lines of dialoge are funny. And of course beautiful landscapes and animals! I wish i could see Africa some day!

  • A movie does not have to be complicated to be enjoyable. It has to be enjoyable.

    This one is. I like the sets, the scenery, the animals.....all of it.

    I catch this movie five or six times per year and enjoy it more each time. It shows the Duke in a different light and, like Donovan's Reef, it grows on you.

  • Quote

    Originally posted by ethanedwards@Jan 20 2006, 12:46 PM
    I do not rate this film so high! I found it boring, tedious and too long!!

    I agree, Keith.

    De gustibus non est disputandum

  • It is funny, but in all honesty, I dearly love this movie. It is one of my all time favorites. I am an animal conservationist, a female and in my 30's and yet, I am able to look at the movie from the time it was made. I also know that the methods used were the most humane at the time. Granted we have other methods to capture animals today and there are few places in the world where they are captured because they have been hunted to near extinction in so many places... but we are talking about a movie made almost 50 years ago. I love it, my four year old daughter also dearly loves it. It is amazing but she can sit and watch it 2 or 3 times in a row and in all honesty I would much rather her watch Hatari than much of what is on in the world. If you watch them handle the animals other than the actual captures, the animals are handled with love and tenderness, watching Sean take a thorn out of the little animals shoulder, or Brandy and Chips give the hyena's a bath, or dallas loving on the baby elephants.

    I love the movie because it shows a totally different side of John Wayne, it shows a light, humorous side. It also shows a side of him that is rather amazing. The fact that he was a very capable animal handler. He was a good rider and watching him in this movie, well handling all sorts of animals, roping animals, it is amazing.

    I think this is a great movie, but like all movies that can be dated, you have to watch them with the understanding of the time frame that the movie is supposed to represent , as well as the time when it was made.


  • Hi all,
    I agree with you Nicole about catching the animals. I was wondering, while watching, why they was not using some kind of sleeping bullets? And it is very impressive to know that the actors of the film did all catchings themselves. And one of them even bought the farm, were film was shoot. There is a link to it at the beginning of this thread.
    By the way I reread pages in Alissa's Wayne book about filming this movie and find it awful and selfish. She didn't like beeing at location at all (and couldn't see nothing over it) and also she didn't like when Duke bring a baby elephant at her bithday.
    Senta :rolleyes:

  • There's no way you could make a film like Hatari today, actors really capturing wild animals for a film's sake. Which is surely a good thing, but still... they're clearly having the time of their lives and I wish I could have been there too! So yes, Hatari is one of those films I enjoy watching all over again.

    I don't believe in surrenders.

  • I've always enjoyed Hatari and have fond memories of watching it with my brothers when we were little kids. We'd then pretend to go out into the "wilds" and catch our pet dog with a catching noose. He didn't appreciate that much I can tell you. :D

    This is also one of my kids favorite movies. The film is great entertainment and a delight to watch!


    "I have tried to live my life so that my family would love me and my friends respect me. The others can do whatever the hell they please."