John Wayne plays Sean Mercer, who heads a "bunch of guys" that capture wild animals in Africa for zoos. Sean's comrades have colorful nicknames like Pockets (Red Buttons), The Indian (Bruce Cabot), and Chips (Gerard Blain). In between roping giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, and--yes--rhinos, the once-burned Sean falls in love with a female photographer (Elsa Martinelli). Meanwhile, the other men begin to notice that their co-worker Brandy (Michele Girardon), who owns Momella Game, Ltd., has grown into an attractive young woman. That's all that happens during the film's running time of two hours and 37 minutes.
|Wayne and Martinelli.|
|Girardon, who committed suicide|
in 1975, and Kruger.
There are several interesting trivia facts regarding the film's production:
- All the animals captured in Africa (in what is now Tanzania) were transported to California for additional scenes. When the movie was finished, the animals were donated to the San Diego Zoo.
- You can spend your vacation at the Hatari Lodge in Tanzania. The lodge used to be Hardy Kruger's farmhouse. The actor fell in love with Africa during the filming of Hatari! and bought a farm with a scenic view of Mount Kilimanjaro.
- Henry Mancini, who composed the film's score, wrote a snippet of music for the baby elephants. The playful tune became known as the "Baby Elephant Walk" and its fame far exceeded the rest of the film's soundtrack.
McCarthy even mentions that the famous French film critic and director Francois Truffaut once described Hatari! as a reflection on the filmmaking process. I think that's a stretch, but, really, who am I to argue with Truffaut?