Directed by Howard Hawks
Action / Adventure / Animal / Drama
John Wayne as Sean Mercer
Hardy Kruger as Kurt Stahl
Elsa Martinelli as Serafini 'Dallas' d'Allesandro
Red Buttons as Pockets
Gérard Blain as Chip Maurey
Michèle Girardon as Brandy
Bruce Cabot as Bill 'Indian' Vaughn
Valentin De Vargas as Luis
Eduard Franz as Dr. Sanderson
Jon Chevron as Joseph
Queenie Leonard as Nurse
A ragtag team of hunters consisting of Sean Mercer, a bitter American big game hunter; Kurt Stahl, a German race car driver who now mans the wheel of the group’s jeep; Bill ‘Indian’ Vaughn, an experienced hunter; and Pockets, who was a cab driver in Brooklyn, are tracking down wild animals and selling them to zoos on the Momella Game Farm in Tanganyika. After the owner of the game farm is killed by a rhinoceros, his daughter Brandy decides to take over the preserve and continue her father’s work. This brings her into close contact with the group of hunters. The group is also joined by Dallas, a lovely international photographer, and Chip Maurey, a French adventurer. Tensions quickly escalate within the group when Kurt and Chip begin competing with each other for Brandy’s attention. Another point of contention is between Sean and Dallas. Sean is upset with Dallas’ tendency to adopt every baby elephant they come across. Both Kurt and Chip are upset when Pockets falls from a tree, and Brandy turns her attention squarely on him – however, it resolves their amorous competition. After Dallas leaves the preserve, Sean uses her baby elephants to hunt her down on a dramatic chase that has the baby elephants stampeding throughout the town of Arusha. Sean and Dallas make up and agree to marry, forming a wonderful family, complete with elephants!
Notes: The title of the movie Hatari! means Danger! in Swahili. The film was shot on location in modern day Tanzania and Kenya. The animals in the film are all live, wild, untamed animals. As such the game experts on the set needed to help fill in to make wild animal noises for the film.
The script was written by Leigh Brackett once she returned from Africa with wild animal footage. Leigh Brackett was also the screenwriter behind many films including Rio Bravo, Rio Lobo, El Dorado, The Big Sleep, and Star wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.
Howard Hawks directed many movies with John Wayne, including Rio Lobo, El Dorado, and Rio Bravo.