Hugo the Hippo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Hugo the Hippo
Hugo the Hippo film poster
Directed by William Feigenbaum
József Gémes
Produced by Robert Halmi Jr.
Written by Thomas Baum
William Feigenbaum
József Szalóky
Starring English version:
Burl Ives
Robert Morley
Paul Lynde
Jesse Emmett
Ronnie Cox
Music by Burt Keyes
Robert Larimer
Edited by Sid Cooper
Magda Hap
Mária Kern
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
December 25, 1975
United States:
January 23, 1976[1]
Running time
86 min.
75 min. (U.S.)
Country Hungary
United States
Language Hungarian
Budget US$1 million[1]

Hugo the Hippo (Hungarian: Hugó, a víziló) is a 1975 animated film produced by the Pannónia Filmstúdió of Hungary and co-produced in the United States by Brut Productions, a division of French perfume company Faberge.[1] It was released in Hungary in 1975 and in the United States in 1976 by 20th Century Fox.


The Sultan of Zanzibar has a harbor infested with sharks, which makes it impossible for ships to trade with him. In an attempt to fix the problem, he brings twelve hippos into the harbor to keep the sharks away. His idea works well enough, but once the hippos are no longer a novelty and the people no longer feed them, they begin to starve. After the hungry hippos rampage through the city looking for food, Aban-Khan, the king's adviser, slaughters all the hippos except one, a little hippo named Hugo. Hugo escapes across the sea to the city of Dar es Salaam, on the African mainland.

A group of children find Hugo and attempt to hide him as best they can, building a garden to feed and take care of him. However, Hugo is discovered and the garden is burned to prevent the children wasting their time with him and neglecting their schoolwork. Hugo is forced to scavenge from the local farms for food, and is put on trial for the damage his nighttime raids caused.

Fortunately, the children manage to contact the Sultan who agrees to appear in court to speak for Hugo. The ruler makes a powerfully impassioned speech about how the hippos were mistreated both by their neglect and their uncalled for culling, which removes all doubt that Hugo is the true injured party in this affair. As a result, the hippo is released and the children agree to care for the hippo for the rest of his days.


Music and texts by Robert Larimer, directed by Bert Keyes, sung by Marie Osmond, Jimmy Osmond, Burl Ives, Ken Williams Quartet, White Water. The soundtrack was released on United Artists Records in 1976.[2]

  1. "It's Really True" (Marie Osmond)
  2. "Sing Song, Pass it Along" (Ken Williams Quartet)
  3. "Zing Zong" (White Water)
  4. "H-I-P-P-O-P-O-T-A-M-U-S" (Jimmy Osmond)
  5. "You Said a Mouthful" (Burl Ives)
  6. "This Friendship is Really True" (Marie Osmond)
  7. "Mister M' Bow Wow" (Jimmy Osmond)
  8. "The Best Day Ever Made" (Burl Ives)
  9. "I Always Wanted to Have a Garden" (Marie Osmond)
  10. "Somewhere You Call Home" (Marie Osmond)
  11. "Wherever You Go, Hugo" (Jimmy Osmond)

Cast and crew[edit]

Hungarian-language cast[edit]

English-language cast[edit]

Italian-language cast[edit]

Czechoslovakian-language cast[edit]


Hugo the Hippo was the first international release of a PannoniaFilm production;[1] prior to this, they had also made Hungary's first animated feature, János Vitéz, in 1973. The film, produced over a two-year period, received funding from the Faberge company via its Brut productions label.[1] Its U.S. distributor, 20th Century Fox, acquired Hugo along with two other Brut films starring Elliott Gould, Whiffs and I Will, I Will... for Now.[1]

Home video/DVD releases[edit]

After an unsuccessful box-office run,[1] Hugo was briefly released to the American home video market in the early 1980s. It was released first release on DVD in Hungary and Italy. Reviewer Phil Hall suggested that Hugo the Hippo would never get a DVD release due to its psychedelic, weird, politically incorrect and violent content.[3] However, Warner Home Video did eventually release the film on DVD through the Warner Archive Collection on June 23, 2015.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Beck, Jerry (2005). "Hugo the Hippo". The Animated Movie Guide. Chicago Reader Press. pp. 115–116. ISBN 1-55652-591-5. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Hall, Phil (2005-02-11). "The Bootleg Files: Hugo the Hippo". Film Threat. Hamster Stampede LLC. Retrieved 2006-11-09. 
  4. ^


  • Mbonde, John Pantaleon (2004) [1972]. Hugo the Hippo (Paperback). Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Mathews Bookstore & Stationers. ISBN 9987-602-29-0. 

External links[edit]