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Length:2 Hours 37 Minutes
Cast:Howard Hawks, John Wayne, Hardy Kruger, Elsa Martinelli

Produced on the heels of director Howard Hawks's "comeback" hit, Rio Bravo, this rollicking action-comedy proved to be one of his most charming and exhilarating adventures -- and one of the last truly great films he would make in a long and storied career. The plot itself is minimal, but the situations are pure Hawks: The story follows a group of professional big-game hunters through a single season, as they drive high-speed across the dusty African plains capturing wild animals for zoos and circuses around the world. John Wayne plays Sean Mercer, the gruff, romantically gun-shy leader, whose tight-knit group is turned upside down when a disarmingly beautiful wildlife photographer (Elsa Martinelli) arrives on the scene. Clocking in at 159 minutes, this is easily the longest film Hawks ever made, yet his control of its pacing is masterful. Hatari! drifts seamlessly between intense action scenes and moments of light comedy, never once faltering. The large ensemble cast is immensely likable, and the film's incredible safari sequences are among the most thrilling ever photographed -- the actors risked life and limb doing all their own animal wrangling, without the aid of camera tricks. Cleverly scripted by the brilliant Leigh Brackett (The Big Sleep), Hatari! offers irresistible delights that are far too numerous to mention. But one would be remiss in neglecting to note the contributions of a waggish Red Buttons, and the buoyant score by Henry Mancini -- highlighted by his now-famous "Baby Elephant Walk." Donald Gray

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