Hatari! (1962)

Directed by Howard Hawks
Written by Leigh Brackett; story by Harry Kurnitz
Repeat viewing/Netflix rental


Sean Mercer: Oh this is gonna be great! The Indian is knocked off, I’ve got a woman photographer on my hands,now you and the Frenchman break out in monkey bites and we’re a month behind already!

If you like Africa, wild animals or John Wayne this could make an enjoyable light afternoon at the movies.

Young Brandy De la Court has inherited a ranch in Africa from her father.  Sean Mercer (Wayne) helps her run the business – capturing wild animals for zoos – with the assistance of Pockets (Red Buttons) and a old-timer called “The Indian” (Bruce Cabot).  By the time the film is fairly started the crew has picked up a German and Frenchman, who inevitably become rivals in love, and beautiful wild game photographer “Dallas” (Elsa Martinelli).

We follow the adventures and misadventures of these folks for the rest of the film.  The entire cast seems to be having a ton of fun and nothing is taken too seriously.

According tothe trivia, the wild animal captures were all accomplished as shown on screen by the actors and the African Masai that come along for the ride.  Obviously no killing is involved, but we do witness all these creatures running in panic in high speed chases by jeeps until they are exhausted.  This looks like no fun at all for the animals and highly dangerous for the cast.  Yet these scenes did not take away from the essential light-hearted camaraderie of the piece.

Hatari was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Color.


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