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Hatari! (1962) Poster

(1962)

Trivia

Jump to: Cameo (1)  | Spoilers (2)
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.
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Much of the action sequence audio had to be re-dubbed due to John Wayne's cursing while wrestling with the animals.
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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.
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Hatari means "danger" in Swahili.
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One evening, Red Buttons and John Wayne were playing cards outside and a leopard came out of the bush towards them. When Buttons mentioned the approaching leopard, Wayne said, "See what he wants."
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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.
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In 1960, Clark Gable had agreed to star in the movie with John Wayne, provided he received first billing on the opening credits, and one million dollars, plus ten percent of the gross. Paramount, however, would not raise the budget to finance Gable, so the script was radically changed. Gable died twelve days before filming began. This was immediately after finishing The Misfits (1961). Considering that for The Misfits he was paid &750,000 plus 10% of the net, the figure of $1 million was not outrageous. The irony was that he was planning on retiring but wanted to do two last films, at least one of them being a major hit. With John Huston directing The Misfits, he thought that might be the one. If he had survived another year and had been signed for Hatari, that would have been his very last film. Another irony is that Huston was best known for the blockbuster African adventure film, The African Queen (1951).
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Many critics carped that the film seemed like a lazy vacation for Howard 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 six million dollar budget.
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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.
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Paramount's highest-grossing film of 1962.
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John Wayne's safari vest from the film was auctioned by Texas-based Heritage Auctions for $2,250 dollars.
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Michèle Girardon spoke no English when cast in the role; she taught herself English while on the set, according to a July 1961 LIFE magazine profile of the actress.
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Hardy Krüger was so impressed by the beauty of the land that he bought the film's location (Momella Farm - as seen on the truck doors) and built a small home for himself and a small bungalow hotel for tourists to see the animals. Hunting was forbidden on the property, and later a cattle farm was started with the meat being sold to local hotels. Hardy described his home there as "a sort of African Walden where I can get away from the world from time to time."

The business aspects of his property were shut down in 1979, however, after the seizure of commonly-held railway rolling stock by Kenya in a scramble for assets of the dissolving British East Africa Community (the former colonies of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda). Because of this, the border with Kenya was closed for five years. As much of the foreign tourists came to Tanzania via Kenya, this had a negative impact on tourism. Since that time tourism in Tanzania has seen a resurgence, particularly to the Ng'oro Ng'oro Crater. Kruger's "Hatari Lodge", which is located at the northeastern border of the Arusha National Park and some twenty miles from the base of Kilimanjaro, reopened and continues to operate to this day.
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According to Hardy Krüger's autobiography, the film crew rented all vehicles available in Tanzania, even the privately owned ones.
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Howard Hawks allegedly bought Elsa Martinelli's tight fitting safari suits himself at a New York department store.
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Most of the filming was completed in March 1961.
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The elephant run in Arusha takes place just northeast of the Arusha clock tower and post office, on India Street and on Boma Road. Dallas is cornered in the Safari Hotel on Boma Road. Having been since renovated, it is still in operation and is now called the New Safari Hotel.
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According to Howard Hawks, John Wayne admitted being scared during some of the action scenes, and "had the feeling with every swerve that the car was going to overturn as he hung on for dear life, out in the open with only a seat belt for support, motor roaring, body jarring every which-way, animals kicking dirt and rocks and the thunder of hundreds of hooves increasing the din in his ears." Wayne felt it was unpredictable with the terrain's hidden holes and obstacles which could have been disastrous.
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Sean gives the instruction for the police to watch the road to Nairobi. By road, the distance from Arusha to the Wilson airport in Nairobi, Kenya is approximately 160 miles, and requires crossing the border to Kenya at Namanga, which is about 65 miles from Arusha. Incidentally, the geography between the two towns is almost entirely low rolling grasslands, and there is only one route between the two.
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According to Valentin de Vargas, technical adviser Willy de Beer was mauled by a loose baby leopard that sprang on him from a tree, "He came back with his arm covered in bandages and throat completely wrapped, but he just shrugged it off."
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At the beginning of the production, all Howard Hawks knew was that he wanted a movie about people who catch animals in Africa for zoos, a dangerous profession with exciting scenes the likes of which had never been seen on-screen before. Hawks increased his knowledge on animal catching from the work of the famous South African animal conservationist, Dr. Ian Player. In 1952, South Africa was eliminating all large wild animals to protect livestock, and only 300 white rhinos survived. Player then invented his famed rhino catching technique to relocate and save the white rhinos. Player's project was called "Operation Rhino" and it was recorded in the renowned documentary film Operation Rhino. Hawks studied this film closely and incorporated aspects of it into his film.
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When Howard Hawks interviewed Valentin de Vargas, he told him it would be very dangerous and showed him a documentary. De Vargas had no double and like the rest of the cast played in the animal catching shots.
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Early in the film Sean mentions that they were in a crater. This is reference to the Ngorongoro Crater, a large ancient volcanic caldera two thousand feet deep and roughly twelve miles in diameter that forms a natural corral for a range of animals. It is now the primary tourist attraction in Tanzania. The name is taken from the Maasai word for leaves. This is only about 85 miles from Arusha. While this might refer to any of a half dozen craters in Tanzania, they are all in close proximity to Ngorongoro.
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The name given to the baby elephant is Tembo, which is the Kiswahili word for elephant.
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As the animals frequently refused to make noise "on cue" (in particular, the baby elephants refused to trumpet inside populated areas), local Arusha game experts and zoo collectors were hired to do "animal voice impersonations".
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Rafiki is the Swahili word for friend. Tembo is the Swahili word for elephant.
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After the jeep accident the group passes by a baobab tree - a tree with a wide trunk and small scraggly branches. An ancient folktale tells the story of an Arab pirate who buried his treasure beneath a lone tree. When he returned there were trees everywhere. He pulled them but and, angry that he could not find the treasure, he put the trees back in the ground upside down, which accounts for their strange appearance. The football-sized seed pods contain seeds surrounded by an edible white pulp with a tart taste. The seeds are a popular snack around the beaches of Kenya and Tanzania.
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Howard Hawks was inspired by the famous animal photographer Ylla, so he had Leigh Brackett add the character of Dallas. Hawks said, "We took that part of the story from a real character, a German girl. She was the best animal photographer in the world."
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The house as shown in the film has security screens over the windows, but no wire mesh screens, as they would have been problematic for filming. The doors are shown as being open at night, which would not have been realistic, as the mosquitoes come out at sunset and would have been swarming. In that part of the country malaria was not much of an issue and because of the altitude it is easy to catch a stray mosquito by hand, but shutting the windows and doors in the late afternoon is a standard practice to keep them out.
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The film is notorious for the excessive cigarette smoking. Several of the cast died from smoking-related illnesses.
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It was the 8th highest grossing film of 1962.
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Just after Chips and Kurt shoot the bottles, and Sean tells them to shoot what's left, he says, "Rudi nyuma!", which means, "Go back!"
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Many of the animal scenes would not be allowed in a modern film.
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The role of Pockets was originally an Englishman named Robbie and Howard Hawks offered the role to Leo McKern, Peter Ustinov and Peter Sellers. McKern refused to work with the Right Wing John Wayne, Ustinov was unavailable and Sellers accepted before the character was reworked into an American.
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Claudia Cardinale was considered for the role of Anna Maria 'Dallas' D'Allesandro.
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The site of "Sean Mercer's" home base (formerly Momilla Farm, now Hatari Lodge) is sixteen miles northeast of the town of Arusha, where the baby elephant run took place.
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The monkey tree is described as being just a few hundred feet away, "just past the little duka." A duka is a general store, usually no smaller than around 80 square feet but usually about the size of a modern convenience store. It would be extremely unlikely that a duka would be located there right next to the farm.
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In order for the baby elephants to hold up under the hot studio lights, they were rubbed with lanolin.
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Interestingly, for a film that features African wildlife, with the sole exception of a caged lion at the lodge, lions are completely absent from this movie.
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Bruce Cabot's first film with John Wayne since "Angel and the Badman (1947)" 15 years earlier, although it was released after "The Comancheros (1961)".
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Government licensed animal catcher Willy de Beer was hired by Howard Hawks to be the close by technical advisor, and his assistants became their staff of experts in regards to catching the animals.
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This started shooting without a complete script. Writer Leigh Brackett was hired at a later date to retrofit the animal footage into a cohesive storyline.
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According to the film, the going wholesale price for vervet monkeys was $12 apiece. Adjusted for inflation this would come to approximately $100 each.
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A bit of drama was added by portraying a rhino as being too dangerous, yet there was little concern about the cape buffalo. While smaller than the American buffalo, a cape buffalo can definitely hold its own against a rhinoceros and it can have a surly disposition.
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During the "doctoring" scenes, Sean looks after a dik dik and a secretary bird. While the dik dik does not appear on the chalkboard earlier in the film, it does show the capture of two secretary birds. They are so-named because they like to stay very close larger animals such as buffalo, as if they were their secretaries. EDIT: the bird is a Crowned Crane, not a Secretary Bird.
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Hawks was keen to team William Holden, a keen conservationist, with either John Wayne or Clark Gable.
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The romance between John Wayne and Elsa Martinelli was widely derided as unrealistic.
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Red Buttons, a liberal Democrat, later said that he greatly regretted his "gross misapprehension" line because he felt it was homophobic.
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At the time of filming, the country was known as Tanganyika. In 1964 it joined with Zanzibar and Pemba islands, and was renamed using an amalgam of the names of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, or Tanzania.
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When heading out to the gun range Sean says something in Swahili to a couple of the workers. What he says is "(You) two, come along, fast."
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The name Tanganyika is a combination of tanga (grassland or prairie) and nyka (sail). When early Arab traders had arrived deep inland they were approaching what is now Lake Tanganyika. Not realizing there was a lake there, they were surprised to see sails moving across the grass, which is how the country got its name.
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Director Howard Hawks recycled his characters singing "Whiskey Leave Me Alone" from his movie The Big Sky (1952).
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While it might not occur to younger audiences, the apparent animosity between Chips and Kurt is because of their nationalities. The film is set only 17 years after the end of the Second World War. France invaded Germany in 1939 in the Saar Offensive, before Germany invaded France in 1940. Chips would not be ordered by a German but he would be happy to comply if asked properly.
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The caching vehicle bears the badge "EA/T" for East Africa / Tanganyika. The license plate begins with AR, which means it is registered for Arusha, which is near Mr. Kimimanjaro. "Killy" can be seen in the background of the hunting lodge.
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At around the 7:15 minute mark into the move, when The Comancheros (1961) (Sean Mercer) is on the radio calling in the Indian's wound he is wearing a belt buckle with Red River D brand from the the movie "Red River (1948)".
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The film could never be made today.
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Sean kids Pockets about his "Clyde Beatty routine". Clyde Beatty was a famous lion tamer and co-owner of the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus. He was famous for using a whip and blank-firing pistol, which would become synonymous with lion taming. During his act, he would work with up to 40 lions and tigers. In addition to the circus, he appeared in several films and his name was also used as the lead character in a radio show in the early fifties in which his alter ego would recount highly embellished tales of adventures in the wild.
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This was the last feature filmed in Tanganyika before it achieved independence from the British in December of 1961. At the time, Tanganyika was in the best shape of the three British East Africa nations (Kenya, Tanganyika, and Uganda) in terms of development, economic and natural resources, and sea port. Its first president, Julius Nyrere, had very lofty ideals and great confidence in the spirit of teamwork among the people, but he introduced a system that nationalized most everything and removed many motivations for achievement, resulting in serious economic problems, a scarcity of foreign currency, and the imposition of large tariffs. As a result, while many wildlife documentaries would be filmed there (having small crews and minimal equipment), few major motion pictures would be filmed there for many years to come.
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John Wayne is wearing a "Red River D" belt buckle in the opening scenes. It is extremely prominent at 5:55 when he is calling Arusha control while standing next to Hardy Krüger.
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In one of the animal capture scenes you can clearly see that one of the African assistants is wearing Converse hi-top sneakers.
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There used to be a version of the movie where Dallas is told that Sonya likes the taste of soap. That's why Sonya came in and was licking Dallas's leg.
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Cameo 

Howard Hawks: He appears in at least two scenes in the movie: The first appearance is in the back of the truck when they are chasing the Rhino toward the end of the movie. He is standing on the right wearing a hat and mostly looking down/back. The second appearance is when they are standing listening to Pockets read the letter from Dallas. He walks through the hall behind the scene.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

There is a scene near the beginning of the movie where the Indian is horned by a rhinoceros. Later, in the doctor's office, the doctor decides he needs a transfusion. He has a very rare blood type (AB negative), but it just so happens that a potential donor, Charles Maurey, is right there at the scene. This plot point was used ten years earlier in 1952's The Greatest Show on Earth, where Brad (Charlton Heston) is critically injured in a train wreck, needs a transfusion, has the rare AB negative blood type, and a potential donor, the Great Sebastian (Cornel Wilde), is there at the scene.
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At the end of the movie, the idea of Shauns character saying that they were married was added at the last minute because they were afraid that people would get the "wrong idea" about Dallas being in his bed.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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