Hatari – movie review

Hatati is a 1962 John Wayne film which is notable for its exciting scenes of chasing Big Game in Africa. However, John Wayne is not a hunter. He leads a team that captures wild animals for zoos throughout the world. This was long before the days of tranquilizer guns,  so the animals are captured by John Wayne roping the beasts while riding on the front of a moving truck.

Filmed entirely on location in Africa, the movie does not use any type of special effects. When a  rhinoceros rams the truck with such force that it almost tips the truck  over, that is not a gimmick. It really happened.

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While the animal chase scenes  are the best part of the movie, there is also a  silly, but fun sub-plot of a romantic comedy. John Wayne (Sean in the film) falls in love with a beautiful photographer named Dallas ( played by Elsa Martinelli) who has come to photograph the team in action.

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Dallas is crazy about Sean, but Sean is just too awkward around  women to open up and really tell her how he feels. John Wayne is actually great in these scenes since he himself is not exactly  what most people would consider a “romantic” kind of guy.

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Dallas has an natural way with animals, especially elephants. She adopts three orphaned baby elephants who think of her as their mother. Evan if you have not heard of the movie Hatari, you will probably at some point have heard the song The Elephant Walk by Henry Mancini; which came from this movie.

The Elephant Walk is from a part in the movie where Dallas runs away after a lover’s spat and John Wayne uses the elephants like bloodhounds to find Dallas and tell her he loves her. The funny part is that Dallas has run away to to a city, and the elephants cause chaos as they crash through stores trying to find “mom”.

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There is also an adorable tame cheetah which John Wayne liked so much that he loved playing with it even when the day’s filming was done.

So if you feel in the mood for a fun movie with beautiful scenes of Africa and a funny story line, we recommend you see Hatari.

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