Hatari! (1962)

159 mins | Comedy, Adventure, Drama | 29 May 1962

Director:

Howard Hawks

Producer:

Howard Hawks

Cinematographer:

Russell Harlan

Editor:

Stuart Gilmore

Production Designers:

Hal Pereira, Carl Anderson

Production Company:

Malabar Productions
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HISTORY

The 27 Apr 1960 Var reported that John Wayne would star in filmmaker Howard Hawks’s upcoming project, provisionally titled The African Story. Filming was scheduled to begin the following Oct in the African nation of Tanganyika, which later united with Zanzibar to form Tanzania. The 2 Sep 1960 LAT stated that the working title was Tanganyika, but was officially changed to Hatari! the Swahili word for “danger.” The 7 Sep 1960 DV noted that Hawks needed approval for the new title from “African authorities,” who assumed it referred to the political turmoil in the region. Hawks planned to arrive in Arusha, Tanganyika at the end of the month. Fifty trucks had already been delivered to the location, two of which were specially designed camera trucks, capable of traveling fifty miles per hour over rough terrain. “Two or three units” were expected to be operating before Wayne’s arrival in mid-Nov 1960.
       After joining the cast, French actor Gerard Blain told the 17 Sep 1960 NYT that he accepted Hawks’s invitation without seeing the screenplay, certain that the picture would be superior to anything made in France. Blain insisted that his decision was “not prompted by commerce but by art.” He had recently declined offers from several renowned French directors, including Rene Clement and H. G. Clouzot.
       The 3 Oct 1960 LAT reported that Hawks’s five-year-old son, Gregg, was joining the company on location, during which he would take photographs for a Life magazine article. One of the director’s older ... More Less

The 27 Apr 1960 Var reported that John Wayne would star in filmmaker Howard Hawks’s upcoming project, provisionally titled The African Story. Filming was scheduled to begin the following Oct in the African nation of Tanganyika, which later united with Zanzibar to form Tanzania. The 2 Sep 1960 LAT stated that the working title was Tanganyika, but was officially changed to Hatari! the Swahili word for “danger.” The 7 Sep 1960 DV noted that Hawks needed approval for the new title from “African authorities,” who assumed it referred to the political turmoil in the region. Hawks planned to arrive in Arusha, Tanganyika at the end of the month. Fifty trucks had already been delivered to the location, two of which were specially designed camera trucks, capable of traveling fifty miles per hour over rough terrain. “Two or three units” were expected to be operating before Wayne’s arrival in mid-Nov 1960.
       After joining the cast, French actor Gerard Blain told the 17 Sep 1960 NYT that he accepted Hawks’s invitation without seeing the screenplay, certain that the picture would be superior to anything made in France. Blain insisted that his decision was “not prompted by commerce but by art.” He had recently declined offers from several renowned French directors, including Rene Clement and H. G. Clouzot.
       The 3 Oct 1960 LAT reported that Hawks’s five-year-old son, Gregg, was joining the company on location, during which he would take photographs for a Life magazine article. One of the director’s older sons, Peter Hawks, was hired to drive a camera truck. Actor Peter Ustinov was included in the cast, as was French Canadian actress Alexandra Stewart, mentioned in the 28 Sep 1960 Var. Neither appeared in the completed film. The 4 Oct 1960 Var stated that actor Nick Adams was offered a role, but also hinted at a likely conflict with the production schedule of his weekly television series, The Rebel (ABC, 4 Oct 1959 – 18 Jun 1961).
       The 3 Oct 1960 DV noted that the supply ship bound for Arusha was re-routed to deliver humanitarian aid to the Democratic Republic of Congo, known at the time as the Belgian Congo. Hawks was told to expect his equipment within the next two weeks. Undaunted, Hawks and his crew, including editor Stuart Gilmore, assistant directors Henry Brill and Danny McCauley , camera technician Bert Eason, assistant cameraman Frank Stanley, and wardrobe assistant Frank Beetson, Jr., left for Arusha the previous weekend. Principal photography began 10 Oct 1960, as stated in 21 Oct 1960 DV production charts. A news item in the 11 Oct 1960 DV included cameramen Joseph Brun, Russell Harlan, and driver David Hawks among the four-man crew permitted to film “charging elephant sequences.” However, the 20 Oct 1960 LAT claimed that fourteen cameras were used to film charging elephants. Three weeks into production, the 4 Nov 1960 DV reported that heavy rains closed the only road leading to Arusha.
       An article in the 22 Jan 1961 NYT revealed that “two years of preparation” preceded filming. Hawks oversaw the Arusha unit, while associate producer and second-unit director Paul Helmick was in charge of the “mobile unit,” located eighty miles south of the city on Lake Manyara. The unit occupied a “tent city’” comprised of forty-two double occupancy tents, with larger tents for the sound, photography, automotive, property, and wardrobe departments, among others. There were also “mosquito-proof” dining, cooking, and lounge tents. At the unit’s disposal were the camera car, and thirty-seven four-wheel-drive jeeps and trucks. Water pumped from the nearby Mto Wa Mbu River was “boiled and allowed to settle for thirty-six hours.” Floodlights, powered by portable generators, deterred wildlife from entering the camp. Transportation to and from the site was accomplished with a single-engine airplane, stored at the Arusha airport. Because there was no airstrip in the wilderness, the plane needed to make several low passes to disperse grazing herds of giraffe, buffalo, and wildebeest before landing.
       The 28 Feb 1961 DV announced the company’s return the following month to Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, CA, with “a planeload of animals.” The 2 Mar 1961 NYT listed the captured wildlife as “two lions, two leopards, a cheetah, a baboon, a hyena, two baby elephants, two adult elephants, a secretary bird, an eagle, monkeys, mongooses, a crested crane,” among others. Despite the special nutritional and housing needs of the animals, it was considered more economical to film additional scenes on the African village set at the studio. At the time of the article, Paramount was negotiating with an animal hostelry in the nearby San Fernando Valley. The studio intended to donate the animals to zoos once production was completed. According to the 1 Mar 1961 DV, the company was due in Los Angeles on 11 Mar 1961. Nearly two weeks later, the 14 Mar 1961 DV reported that the airlift of animals and equipment had begun that day. Housing facilities had already been constructed on the Paramount backlot. As noted in the 14 Mar 1961 NYT, six weeks of shooting remained, mostly interior scenes. The final budget was estimated at $5 million. Filming resumed on 22 Mar 1961, according to that day’s DV. On 5 May 1961, DV reported that actress Elsa Martinelli was stricken with an unidentified virus. Hoping it was not related to the East African strain he contracted weeks earlier, Hawks proceeded to shoot “around” Martinelli until she regained her health.
       The 25 Oct 1961 DV stated that composer Henry Mancini would include “authentic African percussion instruments in his score.” The 1 Nov 1961 DV identified the drummers as Shelley Manne, Jack Sperling, Milt Holland , Roy Hart, Frank Flynn, Bernie Mathenson, and Larry Bunker. Scoring was completed over the next two weeks, as reported in the 15 Nov 1961 DV.
       As the release date approached, the 27 Mar 1962 DV noted that the Catholic Legion of Decency gave the picture an “A-1” rating and a “Special Recommendation,” describing it as “superior, wholesome entertainment.” Weeks later, the 16 Apr 1962 DV reported that John Wayne treated members of the Little League team he sponsored to a preview screening at the Fox Wilshire theater. On 29 May 1962, DV announced the 19 Jun 1962 premiere at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, CA. Proceeds benefitted the “Food for Millions” fund, sponsored by “Hollywood Friends of Africa,” which was chaired by retired actress Mary Pickford. The picture opened ten days later. According to the 6 Jun 1962 DV, a “benefit preview” was held the following day in Scottsdale, AZ, hosted by John Wayne. Proceeds aided the Arizona Zoological Society. The 7 Jun 1962 DV noted that co-star Hardy Kruger was scheduled to host the East African premiere in Dar es Salaam, Tanganyika, on 2 Jul 1962, with proceeds benefitting wild animal preservation in the region.
       That same issue revealed that the promotional campaign for Hatari! was the largest in the history of Paramount. Broadcast advertising included sixty-, thirty-, and twenty-minute spots for radio, and fifty-, twenty-, and ten-second spots for television. The studio also arranged a collaborative deal with Jeep, which supplied many of the vehicles used during production. Another “world” premiere was scheduled for 20 Jun 1962 at the Paramount Theatre in San Francisco, CA. According to the 8 Jun 1962 DV, stars John Wayne, Red Buttons, Elsa Martinelli, and Bruce Cabot were scheduled to leave 20 Jun 1962 on a promotional tour of North America, accompanied by several animals captured during production, including a cheetah named Sonya. The group was scheduled to appear at screenings in seven North American cities, seven of which were opening nights. Among the stops on the tour were New York City; Chicago, IL; Denver, CO; Toronto, Canada; Boston, MA; Dallas, TX; Philadelphia, PA; Washington, D.C.; and Detroit, MI. The 13 Jun 1962 DV noted that the four actors also attended the Hollywood premiere. Wayne, an alumnus of University of Southern California (USC), was honored by the attendance of university officials Dr. Norman Topping, Dr. Rufus Von Kleinsmid, Dr. Raymond Kendal, and Frank Roger Seaver, as reported in the 14 Jun 1962 DV. A news item in the 15 Jun 1962 DV revealed that rival gubernatorial candidates Richard M. Nixon and Edmond G. “Pat” Brown both purchased $100 tickets to the premiere.
       A review in the 23 May 1962 Var lamented the picture’s lack of “story substance and dramatic approach.” Regardless, audiences were enthusiastic, earning the film $6 million in rentals, as reported in the 9 Jan 1963 Var. It also garnered an Academy Award nomination for Cinematography—Color. The soundtrack was among the bestselling albums of 1962, according to the 1 Aug 1962 DV, and the hit song, “Baby Elephant Walk,” received a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement. The 7 Jan 1963 DV estimated Hawks’s share of album royalties to date at $125,000.
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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
7 Sep 1960
p. 4.
Daily Variety
3 Oct 1960
p. 2, 6.
Daily Variety
4 Oct 1960
p. 8.
Daily Variety
11 Oct 1960
p. 2.
Daily Variety
21 Oct 1960
p. 6.
Daily Variety
4 Nov 1960
p. 2, 14.
Daily Variety
28 Feb 1961
p. 2.
Daily Variety
1 Mar 1961
p. 2.
Daily Variety
14 Mar 1961
p. 4.
Daily Variety
22 Mar 1961
p. 8.
Daily Variety
5 May 1961
p. 2.
Daily Variety
25 Oct 1961
p. 2.
Daily Variety
1 Nov 1961
p. 10.
Daily Variety
15 Nov 1961
p. 6.
Daily Variety
27 Mar 1962
p. 1.
Daily Variety
16 Apr 1962
p. 2.
Daily Variety
29 May 1962
p. 3.
Daily Variety
6 Jun 1962
p. 3.
Daily Variety
7 Jun 1962
p. 2, 11.
Daily Variety
8 Jun 1962
p. 3.
Daily Variety
13 Jun 1962
p. 3.
Daily Variety
14 Jun 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
15 Jun 1962
p. 1.
Daily Variety
7 Jan 1963
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
2 Sep 1960
p. 26.
Los Angeles Times
3 Oct 1960
Section C, p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
20 Oct 1960
Section B, p. 11.
New York Times
17 Sep 1960
p. 14.
New York Times
22 Jan 1961
Section X, p. 7.
New York Times
2 Mar 1961
p. 20.
New York Times
14 Mar 1961
p. 30.
Variety
27 Apr 1960
p. 19.
Variety
28 Sep 1960
p. 77.
Variety
23 May 1962
p. 6.
Variety
1 Aug 1962
p. 42.
Variety
9 Jan 1963
p. 13.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2nd unit dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Assoc photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
Men's ward
MUSIC
Mus score
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Unit mgr
Tech adv
Tech adv
Prop master
Animal supv
Stuntman
SOURCES
SONGS
"Just for Tonight," words by Johnny Mercer, music by Hoagy Carmichael.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Tanganyika
The African Story
Release Date:
29 May 1962
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles premiere: 19 June 1962
Detroit opening: 20 June 1962
Production Date:
10 October 1960--late spring 1961
Copyright Claimant:
Malabar Productions
Copyright Date:
31 December 1961
Copyright Number:
LP22962
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
159
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

The Momella Game Farm in Tanganyika is world-famous as a source of wild animals. When its owner is killed by a rhinoceros, his French-born daughter, Brandy, decides to carry on her father's work. Assisting her are Sean Mercer, an American game catcher embittered by a previous unhappy love affair; Kurt Stahl, a former auto racer from Germany who drives the herding jeep; Bill "Indian" Vaughn, a veteran hunter; and Pockets, a former cabbie from Brooklyn. Eventually this little group of international adventurers is joined by woman photographer Dallas and French playboy Chip Maurey, who replaces Indian when the latter is badly gored by a charging rhino. Trouble begins when Kurt and Chip compete for the attentions of Brandy, and Sean becomes infuriated by Dallas' penchant for collecting baby elephants. Gradually, however, during the many hectic safaris after wild game, the tensions are resolved. The rivalry between Kurt and Chip ends when Pockets accidentally falls from a fence and Brandy betrays her true romantic feelings by rushing up to comfort him. Following the celebration of the capture of a rhinoceros, Sean discovers that Dallas has left the farm, and he sets out to find her by using her pet baby elephants as bloodhounds. After barging through the streets, alleys, and stores of the small town of Arusha, they finally corner her in the local hotel. Sean insists upon an immediate marriage, and Dallas tearfully agrees. Their wedding night is somewhat marred, however, when Dallas' three baby elephants stampede into the ... +


The Momella Game Farm in Tanganyika is world-famous as a source of wild animals. When its owner is killed by a rhinoceros, his French-born daughter, Brandy, decides to carry on her father's work. Assisting her are Sean Mercer, an American game catcher embittered by a previous unhappy love affair; Kurt Stahl, a former auto racer from Germany who drives the herding jeep; Bill "Indian" Vaughn, a veteran hunter; and Pockets, a former cabbie from Brooklyn. Eventually this little group of international adventurers is joined by woman photographer Dallas and French playboy Chip Maurey, who replaces Indian when the latter is badly gored by a charging rhino. Trouble begins when Kurt and Chip compete for the attentions of Brandy, and Sean becomes infuriated by Dallas' penchant for collecting baby elephants. Gradually, however, during the many hectic safaris after wild game, the tensions are resolved. The rivalry between Kurt and Chip ends when Pockets accidentally falls from a fence and Brandy betrays her true romantic feelings by rushing up to comfort him. Following the celebration of the capture of a rhinoceros, Sean discovers that Dallas has left the farm, and he sets out to find her by using her pet baby elephants as bloodhounds. After barging through the streets, alleys, and stores of the small town of Arusha, they finally corner her in the local hotel. Sean insists upon an immediate marriage, and Dallas tearfully agrees. Their wedding night is somewhat marred, however, when Dallas' three baby elephants stampede into the bedroom. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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