Hugo the Hippo (also released under the Hungarian title "Hugó, a víziló") is a 1975 animated film produced by the Pannónia Filmstúdió of Hungary & co-produced in the United States by Brut Productions (which is a division of French perfume company Faberge) directed by William Feigenbaum & József Gémes.
The movie was first released on December 25, 1975 in Hungary and a year later in January 23, 1976 by 20th Century Fox as its first animated feature in the United States.
| Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about|
the entire movie.
The Sultan of Zanzibar faces an issue when a harbor infested with sharks that makes it impossible for ships to trade with him and order to help fix it, he brings in twelve hippos into the harbor to keep the sharks away.
The Sultan's idea worked, but once the hippos were no longer needed and people no longer feed them, the hippos began to starve. After the hippos rampage through the city looking for food, the Sultan's adviser, Aban-Khan slaughters all of the hippos except for a little hippo named Hugo.
Hugo is able to escape by crossing the sea to the city of Dar es Salaam where 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 ends up getting burned to prevent the children wasting their time with him and ignoring their schoolwork.
Because of this, Hugo is forced to scavenge from the local farms for food & is later put on trial for the damage that his nighttime raids caused.
Fortunately for Hugo, 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, Hugo is released and the children agree to take care of for the rest of his life.
- Ferenc Bessenyei - Narrator (voice)
- László Márkus - Sultan (voice)
- Tamás Major - Aban-Khan (voice)
- Gábor Berkes - Jorma (voice)
- István Bujtor - Jorma's Father (voice)
- Kati Kovács - (singing voice)
- Erzsébet Kútvölgyi - (singing voice)
- Péter Máté - (singing voice)
- Burl Ives - Narrator (voice)
- Robert Morley - Sultan (voice)
- Paul Lynde - Aban-Khan (voice)
- Jesse Emmett - Royal Magician (voice)
- Ronny Cox - Jorma (voice)
- Percy Rodriguez - Jorma's Father (voice)
- Len Maxwell - Judge (voice)
- Marie Osmond - (singing voice)
- Jimmy Osmond - (singing voice)
- Don Marshall - Additional characters (voice)
The soundtrack to "Hugo the Hippo" was released on United Artists Records in 1976 and features vocals from Marie & Jimmy Osmond, Burt Ives, the Ken Williams Quartet and White Water.
- "It's Really True" (Marie Osmond)
- "Sing Song, Pass it Along" (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" (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)
"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 (which was produced over a two-year period) received funding from the Faberge company via its Brut productions label.
It's unknown how much "Hugo the Hippo" grossed at the box office, but it was an unsuccessful there.
TV Guide gave the movie three stars called it "well animated" and "charming".