Cole Thornton, a gunfighter for hire, joins forces with an old friend, Sheriff J.P. Hara. Together with an old Indian fighter and a gambler, they help a rancher and his family fight a rival rancher that is trying to steal their water.
After the Civil War, ex-Confederate soldiers heading for a new life in Mexico run into ex-Union cavalrymen selling horses to the Mexican government but they must join forces to fight off Mexican bandits and revolutionaries.
During the Alaska gold rush, prospector George sends partner Sam to Seattle to bring his fiancée but when it turns out that she married another man, Sam returns with a pretty substitute, the hostess of the Henhouse dance hall.
Texas Ranger Jake Cutter arrests gambler Paul Regret, but soon finds himself teamed with his prisoner in an undercover effort to defeat a band of renegade arms merchants and thieves known as Comancheros.
Sean Mercer (played by John Wayne) runs a business in East Africa. He and his team capture wild animals for zoos. It is dangerous work - on of his men almost dies after being gored by a rhino. He accepts a request from a photographer to join his business and capture their experiences but is very surprised, and bit inconvenienced, when the photographer turns out to be a woman. However, over time he grows fond of her. Meanwhile, plans to capture certain animals lead to all sorts of plans and adventures.Written by
The name given to the baby elephant is Tembo, which is the Kiswahili word for elephant. See more »
During the giraffe chase scene, the number of giraffe changes. In one shot, showing Sean in the catchers seat we see another adult giraffe in the back ground. In the next shot from the rear of the catch car there is only the young giraffe that is being chased. See more »
HATARI! may be the most enjoyable of the Howard Hawks/John Wayne collaborations (their other pairings produced the classics RED RIVER and RIO BRAVO, and the RIO BRAVO 'remakes' EL DORADO and RIO LOBO), and is exceptional in several ways; at 157 minutes (2 hours, 37 minutes), it may be one of the longest 'buddy' films ever made; nearly all of the animal 'chase and capture' sequences involved the actual cast members (professional handlers serving as stunt doubles were only rarely used); and the filming began with virtually no script (which was written based on the 'on location' footage in Africa, after the cast returned to California). At 65, director Hawks was still in top form, and the risks he took paid off...HATARI!, despite it's length, is never boring!
The story focuses on a season with a team of professional hunter/trappers, capturing animals for zoos and circuses. With a breathtaking opening scene of a rhino chase, costing them the use of veteran driver, 'Indian' (legendary actor Bruce Cabot), the 'family' dynamic is quickly established, with rugged Sean Mercer (Wayne) both boss and father-figure to the group. As he and the rest of the 'family' (Red Buttons, Hardy Krüger, Valentin de Vargas, and Michèle Girardon) meet 'Indian's' replacement, 'Chips' (Gérard Blain), Mercer has an even bigger headache to deal with; beautiful photographer Anna Maria 'Dallas' D'Allesandro (Elsa Martinelli) has arrived, to shoot a magazine spread. A 'traditional' Hawks leading lady, 'Dallas' is feisty, sultry, and attracted to Mercer, and the older man, uncomfortable with the ease by which she fits into the group, as well as his own stirrings, tries to make it clear that romance has no place on his agenda (in much the same manner as he did with Angie Dickinson in RIO BRAVO...and with the same results).
While some elements of the story are dated and politically incorrect (shooting a baby African elephant, even as a 'mercy killing', would be a major offense, today, as it is an endangered species), the combination of spectacular 'hunt' sequences, and the warmth and easy camaraderie of the cast in the subplots make HATARI! a rich, rewarding experience.
A major plus for the film is a very atypical Henry Mancini score, combining tense, African-influenced themes for the chases, and the very funny 'Elephant Walk' to punctuate 'Dallas's' relationship with her adopted pachyderm 'children'. The baby elephant scenes are film highlights, as is the rocket capture of a tree filled with monkeys, and both rhino chases (which clearly shows Wayne in some real danger!)
From the opening rhino sequence to the closing 'Honeymoon' scene, HATARI! is a grand entertainment, and escapism at it's best!
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