A group of adventurers in East Africa catch wild animals for zoos by day….
…while guzzling booze and discovering romance at night.
One searching for much more of a plot in Howard Hawks’s testosterone-injected adventure tale is bound to be gravely disappointed. But rest assured, the amazing action scenes involving live and very dangerous animals, a winning international cast, and that spirit of comradery always so present in a Hawks picture easily compensate.
Shot on location in northern Tanganyika, now Tanzania, HATARI! is a film that could never be made today. CGI, stunt doubles and animal rights groups would ultimately squash any chance of replicating the dangerous action sequences involving the cast’s brave capture of an assortment of menacing beasts. Led by John Wayne (at his best here), the cast of HATARI! performed most of their own stunts, a feat that amps up the flick’s thrills to ultimate levels.
Henry Mancini’s score is another winning compensation. A mix of brassy lounge pieces and percussion heavy adventure tracks perfectly complement the film’s diverse range of scenes. I dare you to try and not whistle ‘Baby Elephant Walk‘ after hearing it play over the sequences where a ravishing Elsa Martinelli frolics about with a ragtag group of infant pachyderms.
Clocking in at a lengthy 157 minutes, HATARI! never drags. The film is a one of kind of experience that ranks as one of cinema’s ultimate adventure tales set on the Dark Continent. Highly recommended for anyone itching for an old school action film where the action is so real that it you can almost feel that rhino jump into your front seat.
— MAC BELL (@lookatthegrouse).
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