John Wayne heads a group of highly skilled professional game hunters in Africa to capture animals for zoos and circus attractions.
Genre: Feature Film-Action/Adventure
Release Date: 13-MAY-2003
Media Type: DVD
Chrystine H. from CREIGHTON, MO Reviewed on 7/22/2015...
This is probably my FAVORITE John Wayne film. I like the safari setting and the whole Mama Timbo plot. Very Good.
Hawks' African 'Buddy' Film a Wayne Classic!
Benjamin J Burgraff | Las Vegas | 12/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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 'Baby 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!"
Animals, thrills, and romance, Wayne-style
Kona | Emerald City | 02/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Hatari!" is the story of a very likeable group of men who live in Africa and catch animals for zoos. They include Sean Mercer (John Wayne), Pockets (Red Buttons) and Kurt (Hardy Kruger). A photographer named Dallas (Elsa Martinelli) comes to spend a season and everyone is surprised (and delighted) to find that she is a woman, and a beautiful one at that. She goes out on hunts with the guys and is attracted to Sean; he likes her, too, although he won't admit it. Pockets and Kurt fight over their old boss' daughter, Brandy, who is all grown up now.
There is plenty of wild animal action (the actors really did catch the animals), plenty of fun, and innocent romance, too. John Wayne has one of his best roles as the rugged he-man who acts all dopey around a pretty girl. German heartthrob Hardy Kruger is the reason I watch this movie over and over again. Miss Martinelli is very good as the Italian beauty who falls hard for Sean and is the object of two baby elephants' affections, as well. The whole family can enjoy the breathtaking animal scenes, the strong bond of friendship shared by the little group, and the adventure of living in Africa. Heartily recommended.
Rhinos and Other Horny Beasts in Africa
C. T. Mikesell | near Eugene, Oregon | 01/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There's not much this movie doesn't have. Action? Got it. Romance? Yep. Comedy? Check. Wild animals? Naturally. Punching, gunplay, explosions, and rocket blasts? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. Hyena bathing and slapstick elephant chases? But of course. Shape-shifting space aliens? Okay, it doesn't have that, but it has everything else and a cast that works well together and isn't overscripted.The story follows a season in the lives of a team of big game hunters (a catch-and-release group that works for zoos and circuses). A couple outsiders come in and the group dynamic changes; the young girl of the group is suddenly all grown up and a love triangle (later a quadrangle) forms and resolves itself; the group's leader has to choose between letting go of the past or missing the relationship of a lifetime; and then there's the horrible rhino curse that must be broken. In lesser hands, it would all be a "very special episode" of Little House on the Savanna, but Howard Hawks masterfully directs his cast and winds up with some incredible footage of the African plains and its wildlife as well. Add in an excellent score by Henry Mancini, and you are really drawn into the action; the whimsical "Baby Elephant Walk" provides a nice break from the tension - you know nothing bad can happen once the calliope starts up, so just sit back and enjoy the fun.John Wayne keeps his swagger and drawl mostly in check, but Buttons' physical comedy is a little overeager. Still, the remaining 98% of the film is on target in tone and balance. The scenes between lovelorn Martinelli and Buttons feel genuine, the animal herding and capture scenes feel dangerous, the rhino goring and dislocated shoulder repair feel painful, and your arteries begin to clog at the mention of codfish cakes deep-fried in antelope fat.This is a great movie to lose yourself in. Just make sure you have a full two-and-a-half hours to spend; once you begin you won't want the action, romance, and comedy to stop for even a minute."
A great action film
C. T. Mikesell | 01/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a John Wayne fan and want a break from his usual western, this is the video to buy. You can tell he loves Africa and being around African big game...it shows in his face and his manner. And he's surrounded by a very capable supporting cast...Red Buttons and Elsa Martinelli are fantastic. The scenery is breathtaking and the action shots are superb....especially chasing the rhinos and the cape buffalo who give the game hunters quite a fight. I also think Howard Hawks used some interesting techniques to get honest reactions from the actors....some of the scenes had to been a surprise to Wayne and Martinelli! The movie has something for everyone."