Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hatari (1962)

People either love this film or loath it. Far from a meaty film, this is instead a freewheeling romp that is kind of like a three hour vacation.

The thought of the film being a vacation is an apt one since the film exists simple because John Wayne, Howard Hawks and friends wanted to go on African Safari and didn’t want to pay for the trip themselves. Cobbling the script together they flew off to Africa to make a film and have a good time.

The plot of the film has Wayne and his cohorts running an animal collection business. As they deal with bad luck, romance (thanks to the appearance of a female nature photographer) and not particular serious personal matters they occasionally go out and collect big game for circuses and zoos.

Deep and meaningful it’s not. A great deal of fun it is.

I am not a particularly big John Wayne fan. I tend to be a fan of his films on a film by film basis. Somewhere along the way I stumbled upon this film, somewhere in the middle and fell in love with it. There is something so non-taxing about the film that I will pop it in when I just need to relax and not think. I think the film that Wayne isn’t acting, I think he’s more or less being himself and just walking through the scenes. (I think at some point Wayne kind of stopped acting for a while and simply was himself, only acting when the role was good- True Grit or the Shootist- or when it was more than money making effort.)

Of course the high point of the film are the many animal related scenes. The capture sequences that are sprinkled through the film are spectacular and I really hope to one day see them on the big screen because seeing them on TV is amazing and I can only imagine how they will play big. To be honest I’m guessing that the sequences give animal rights people kittens but at the same time there is no denying that they are wonderful cinematic experiences from another time.

I love this film. It’s fun. If you get the chance and have three hours give it ago.

1 comment:

  1. I saw this on the BIG SCREEN several times as a kid growing up in India. The scenes were indeed spectacular. I love this movie, and what you say about just popping it in the DVR and watching it is so true. The values are all uplifting and positive and it is sure fun in a good clean way.