Hugo the Hippo on DVD

Category: Blu-ray's and DVD's

hugo“Hugo the Hippo” is now available on DVD. While considered a children’s movie, I find it difficult to recommend it for kids. Or even adults.


Spoiler Alert – Because of the story I am going to deviate from the traditional form of review and divulge everything that happens in this 1975 film. Some parents might find it too traumatic for their kids.


First of all, in a harbor where the merchants must get their crops out to the boats, sharks move in and start chomping on everything and everyone. To get rid of the sharks the Sultan orders his people to find some hippos and bring them back. Now, if the sharks aren’t enough to cause nightmares for young viewers (especially considering all the shark attacks this year), the hippos are brutally rounded up and brought back for the sultan.


Hugo, the baby of the group, is not selected and sees his parents being taken away so he stows away to be with them. When the hippos are in the harbor they manage to get rid of the sharks and make the water safe for the merchants to deliver their crops to the boats. The people rejoice and take care of the hippos. At least for a while. When they neglect the big animals, the hippos start to go hungry and trample the land to get food for their survival.


Here comes another blow to the gut – At the order of the evil Aban-Khan who works for the sultan, all the hippos are slaughtered. All except Hugo who sees his parents killed and runs away. Alone and frightened, Hugo cannot find any place to live. He is hungry and sad until a young boy finds him and takes care of the little fellow. All the children in the area help Hugo by planting a garden so he will have fresh food. When Aban-Khan tracks down the hippo and things get really scary for the little guy. He is captured and put on trial. The adults call for his death and for his body to be carved out for food. Talk about traumatic. Hugo is terrified.


The final result is that the children are given guardianship of Hugo and the message is that people need to be compassionate toward animals.


There are some fun songs by Marie and Jimmy Osmond. The colorful scenes are interesting and reminiscent of the Beatles drug induced era with brightly colored kaleidascoping images. This film is meant for kids and the reviews are positive, however in all consciousness I cannot recommend it for kids. Or even adults.


In what universe is this considered a children’s film? Perhaps the same universe that thinks “Three Blind Mice” is a suitable nursery rhyme, with the farmer’s wife chopping off their tails with a carving knife.


This is definitely a film parents should think hard about before playing it for their kids.


“Hugo the Hippo” is part of the Warner Archive Collection and is available at


About the Author

Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment business for over 20 years. She also writes about technology and has been a travel writer for the past 15 years. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as Internet websites. She has written her own book,  Beyond the Red Carpet The World of Entertainment Journalists, from Sourced Media Books.

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