Coming off a double Oscar win for his Breakfast at Tiffany's score, Henry Mancini produced this score for the Howard Hawks-directed, John Wayne-starring safari comedy. This is at first a fun blend of jazz and Afro-exotica, jungle drums mixed with a classic bop combo. Elsewhere, however, the soundtrack opts for some pleasant, but very Western jazz, only stopping for the African instrument-sampler "The Sounds of Hatari," which features some nice treated piano. The filmmakers were probably hoping that the Mercer and Carmichael song "Just for Tonight" would be as much a success as Tiffany's "Moon River," but if Hatari! is memorable for anything, it's for the incredibly goofy "Baby Elephant Walk," which has gone on to be infamous musical shorthand for kookiness of any stripe. Get this tune in your head and it sticks.
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AllMusic Review by Ted Mills