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Film / Hatari!

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Hatari! is a 1962 Howard Hawks film about a team of animal catchers in Tanzania. Loads and Loads of Characters, each with their own background.

  • Sean Mercer (John Wayne), the leader who's had his heart broken in the past.
  • Kurt Müller (Hardy Krüger), a racecar driver from Germany, also one of Brandy's love interests.
  • Dallas (Elsa Martinelli), an Italian photographer who's taking pictures of the animal catching and has a romantic subplot with Sean.
  • The Indian (Bruce Cabot), the former shooter of the team. Gets gored by a rhino in the beginning and begins to think there's a jinx on hunting rhinos.
  • Chips (Gérard Blain), also known as The Frenchman, the current shooter. Has a vitrolic friendship with Kurt and a crush on Brandy.
  • Brandy de la Court (Michèle Girardon), the daughter of the former leader. Has three men vying for her, but chooses Pockets.
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  • Pockets (Red Buttons), a former New York cabbie, the team joker, who prefers to stay away from the animals as they scare him. Also has a thing for Brandy. Has his pockets full of stuff.
  • Luis Francisco Garcia Lopez (Valentin de Vargas), who doesn't wear pajamas.

Howard Hawks decided not to use a plot for the movie, instead letting the characters develop and tying it together with Bookends. The cast mostly averts Fake Nationality (except for Sean and Luis. The Indian is also played by an American, but not a Native one), and as a result a lot of the actors aren't on this wiki. Check The Other Wiki for details.

Hatari! was scored by Henry Mancini; "Baby Elephant Walk", a playful instrumental he wrote for the film, has proven to be enduringly popular.

Definitely not to be confused with the Icelandic band of the same name.



  • AB Negative: Shown Their Work, as the doctor explicitly states that he tried using plasma first on the Indian, but since it wasn't working he needs whole blood, which has to be the same type. Turns out Chips has the right type.
  • Actor Allusion: John Wayne is wearing a "Red River D" belt buckle in the opening scenes.
  • Bedmate Reveal: Dallas' introduction is a play on this. Sean goes into his room, takes his boots off, and she wakes up and tells him that she's in his bed. It's perfectly innocent (she arrived late, and so she just picked a random bed to use), but the guys lampshade the implications.
  • Bilingual Bonus: This crops up now and then, since the movie is :
    • Set in Tanganyika (modern-day Tanzania), and was shot on location with Swahili speakers
    • Featuring an international cast
  • Bookends: Catching the rhino and Bedmate Reveal.
  • Blood Brothers: Chips and the Indian joke about this when the Indian arrives.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Averted. Chips is a Blood Knight and if anything doesn't know when to back down.
    Sean: Stop it, will you? You can't whip us all.
    Chips: I can try!
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Kurt only warms up to Chips after he defeats him in a shooting contest. Chips punching him at the end (really just reciprocating a then-unanswered kick given a few days ago) seems to have added to it.
    Chips: Do you still want me now?
    Kurt: *smiling* You got the job.
  • Discriminate and Switch: Sean tells Dallas that they aren't acting condescending towards her because she's a woman, they're taking reasonable precautions around an amateur in a very dangerous job.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Even though there isn't anything between them, Pockets drives his car into a wall when Dallas starts changing clothes in the car.
  • Ditzy Genius: Pockets. Well, more like silly genius, but you wouldn't expect such a jokey guy to catch 500 monkeys with a rocket.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Kurt, the German, fighting Chips, the Frenchman. The war was only about twenty years before the release of the movie.
  • Drawing Straws: When Brandy needs to go bathe in the river, she asks one of the men to come with her (because she can't carry a gun and bathe) and draws straws to decide. Sean breaks his straw, because two of the other men had expressed interest in her before and he was the only one who still thought of her as a kid.
  • Excited Film Title!: The title has an exclamation point at the end.
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest: A lot of Sean's hang-ups about romance come from his first girlfriend, who hated everything in his life and left because she couldn't stand it.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: When Pockets falls off a fence, Brandy immediately rushes to his side, acting far more tender with him than with Kurt and Chips earlier and treating him while holding his hand. Subverted in that it's heavily implied that she had feelings for him beforehand, and saw him being injured as an opportunity.
  • Foreign Language Title: Hatari! is Swahili for Danger!.
  • Great White Hunter: Sean
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Kurt and Chip develop into this. At the end they're both going to Paris to hook up with a girl they coincidentally both know.
  • Last Guy Wins: Pockets is the last guy (we see) to take an interest in Brandy, and the one she chooses.
  • Moment Killer: Pockets breaks up a few of Dallas and Sean's kisses. He lampshades it both times, and once again later. Of course, the ultimate Moment Killer is Dallas' three baby elephants coming in on Sean and Dallas' wedding night.
  • Never Gets Drunk: Played with: Pockets gets drunk, he just doesn't get hungover.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: Very luckily played straight, as all the animals in the chase scenes are actually wild and untrained and the actors themselves do the catching. As far as we know, no animals or people were injured, but the scene where they catch the zebra had to be dubbed over due to John Wayne's cursing.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Nearly every member of the cast. A few are justified in that they are multinational and most of their nicknames derive from their real names being hard to pronounce for people with different accents.
    • The Indian's real name is Little Wolf.
    • Chips' real name is Charles Maurey. They found it unpronounceable, and sometimes dub him "The Frenchman" in honor of the Indian.
    • Pockets' real name is never revealed.
    • Dallas' real name is Anna Maria D'Allesandro.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Pockets and Dallas develop into this. Best shown when Dallas is weeping, and all Pockets has to say is "Hey, it's Pockets. What's the matter?" and she explains it all.
  • Practice Kiss / Test Kiss: Dallas invokes this with Sean, asking him how he likes to kiss, and then practicing. Finally, it ends with him grabbing her and kissing her. Unfortunately, Pockets breaks it up.
  • Race for Your Love: with the baby elephants used as sniffer dogs.
  • Rescue Romance: Parodied when Dallas is taking a bath and a cheetah comes in. Pockets comes in and tries to save her, only for Sean and Kurt to come in and reveal that the cheetah is their pet Sonya. Dallas smacks Pockets with a wet towel.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: Just past the halfway point of the movie, Pockets begins working on "some Rube Goldberg for catching monkeys", which is best summed up as a giant rocket-net. The instant Sean hears about it, he marches over to Pockets' workstation only to find smoke and fleeing workers.
    Workers: Hatari! Hatari!
  • She Is All Grown Up: Sean says this of Brandy, once he realizes Kurt is interested in her.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Brandy has 3 guys vying for her attention and she's noticeably taller than all 3 of them. She's even just a few inches shorter than 6'4" John Wayne.
  • Title Drop: When a rocket goes off accidentally, as "hatari" means "danger" in Swahili.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Again, Kurt and the Frenchman.
  • Who's on First?: They get into this a little with the "I don't know" when they are drunk and have just discovered Dallas in Sean's bed.

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