Hugo the Hippo
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. It was released in Hungary in 1976 and in the United States in 1975 by 20th Century Fox (as its first animated feature distribution). The film was directed by William Feigenbaum and József Gémes (who directed the animation).
|Hugo the Hippo|
|Directed by||William Feigenbaum|
József Gémes (Animation)
|Produced by||Robert Halmi Jr.|
|Written by||Thomas Baum|
|Narrated by||English version:|
|Music by||Burt Keyes|
|Edited by||Sid Cooper|
|Distributed by||Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation|
The harbor of Zanzibar becomes infested with a group of vicious sharks, which makes it impossible for trading ships to dock. In an attempt to fix the problem, the Sultan charges his advisor, Aban-Khan, to bring twelve hippos from Africa 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 viciously slaughters all the hippos except one, a little baby hippo named Hugo. Hugo escapes across the sea to the city of Dar es Salaam, on the African mainland.
A group of children, led by a farmer boy named Jorma, 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 by the angry parents to prevent their children wasting their time with him and neglecting their schoolwork. As a result, Hugo is forced to scavenge from the local farms for food. When Aban-Khan, still obsessed about catching Hugo, hears of the incident, he travels to Dar es Salaam and with the aid of the Sultan's court wizard converts the farm of Jorma's family into an enchanted garden filled with gigantic fruits and vegetables. Once Hugo is lured into the trap, the plants turn into bizarre monsters thirsting to kill both Hugo and Jorma, who has come to Hugo's aid. Despite their best efforts to get away, they end up overwhelmed and captured by Aban-Khan.
Hugo 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, while Aban-Khan comes to feel the wrath of a populace's mind turning against him, Hugo is released and the children are charged by the judge to care for him 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.
- "It's Really True" (Marie Osmond)
- "Harbor Chant" (Ken Williams Quartet)
- "Zing Zong" (White Water)
- "H-I-P-P-O-P-O-T-A-M-U-S" (Jimmy Osmond)
- "You Said a Mouthful" (Burl Ives)
- "This Friendship is Really True (Reprise)" (Marie Osmond)
- "Mister M' Bow Wow" (Jimmy Osmond)
- "The Best Day Ever Made" (Burl Ives)
- "I Always Wanted to Have a Garden" (Marie Osmond)
- "Somewhere You Call Home" (Marie Osmond)
- "Wherever You Go, Hugo" (Jimmy Osmond)
- "H-I-P-P-O-P-O-T-A-M-U-S (End Title)" (Jimmy Osmond)
Cast and crew
- Directors - William Feigenbaum and József Gémes
- Screenplay - Thomas Baum, William Feigenbaum and József Szalóky
- Production Design - Graham Percy
- Burl Ives as Narrator (voice)
- Robert Morley as Sultan (voice)
- Paul Lynde as Aban-Khan (voice)
- Jesse Emmett as Royal Magician (voice)
- Ronnie Cox as Jorma (voice)
- Percy Rodriguez as Jorma's Father (voice)
- Len Maxwell as Judge (voice)
- Marie Osmond as singing voice
- Jimmy Osmond as singing voice
- Don Marshall as Additional characters (voice)
- Sandro Tuminelli as Narrator (voice)
- Giorgio Gusso as Sultan (voice)
- Paolo Lombardi as Aban-Khan (voice)
- Sandro Pellegrini as Royal Magician (voice)
- Riccardo Rossi as Jorma (voice)
- Germano Longo as Jorma's Father (voice)
- Fausto Tommei as Judge (voice)
- Suan (Annamaria Baratta) as singing voice
- complex voice I nostri figli as singing voice
- choir 4+4 of Nora Orlandi as singing voice
- Sandro Tuminelli as singing voice
- Pavol Mikulík as Narrator (voice)
- Ľubo Gregor as Sultan (voice)
- Štefan Skrúcaný as Royal Magician (voice)
- Ivan Krivosudský as Judge (voice)
- Marcela Molnárová as singing voice
- Jana Kocianová as singing voice
Hugo the Hippo was the first international release of a PannoniaFilm production; 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. 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.
After an unsuccessful box-office run, Hugo was briefly released to the American home video market in the early 1980s by Magnetic Video Corporation. It was first released 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. However, Warner Home Video did eventually release the film on DVD through the Warner Archive Collection on June 23, 2015.
A version of the song The Best Day Ever Made was used in the 1988-1992 animatronic show Care Bears Care-A-Lot Castle Show which was located in Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom.
- List of American films of 1975
- List of animated feature-length films
- List of 20th Century Fox theatrical animated features
- Beck, Jerry (2005). "Hugo the Hippo". The Animated Movie Guide. Chicago Reader Press. pp. 115–116. ISBN 1-55652-591-5.
- "Hugo the Hippo". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved 6 November 2016.
- Hall, Phil (11 February 2005). "The Bootleg Files: Hugo the Hippo". Film Threat. Hamster Stampede LLC. Retrieved 9 November 2006.
- Mbonde, John Pantaleon (2004) . Hugo the Hippo (Paperback). Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Mathews Bookstore & Stationers. ISBN 9987-602-29-0.