6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Action, comedy and John Wayne in East Africa.,
This review is from: Hatari [DVD]  (DVD)
It is hard to understand why this little gem almost has been forgotten; one reason may be that it is hard to fit into a single category. Hatari includes all the classical Hawksian themes with special emphasis on male-bonding, professional leadership and fear of falling in love, but it effortlessly switches between comedy and action, and it takes place in East Africa instead of the Wild West.
John Wayne heads a team of white men with very different backgrounds and nationalities who each year converge on East Africa to catch animals to Western zoos. Hawks' choice of this group instead of traditional hunters is a stroke of genius: it appeals to a much larger audience, the hunting is much more difficult and dangerous to the men, and it involves more people and worn-down jeeps and trucks blazing (well, almost) across the savannah.
This year three complications arise: One member of the team is wounded, and not only do they need every single man, but his blood type is very rare. Second: the daughter of the late head of the team is coming of age, and third: a female photographer shows up. She has been send by a zoo which has placed a large order for animals, so John Wayne cannot just send her away, like he wants to. Hawks must have selected these complications carefully, for they are just what he needs to develop his usual themes. On the other hand it seems like he just didn't know what to do with the Africans - we see traditionally-clad inhabitants of two villages, a cook, a few drivers/assistants and we visit a larger city twice. Apart from that this is Africa without Africans.