"Fantasia" (1940) is the Walt Disney film that has the scene of the dancing hippos in tutus. Hyacinth Hippo is the lead of the dancers of the daytime and symbolizes Laura Adorno from the Italian opera La Gioconda by Amilcare Ponchielli. This is deduced by the fact that she is wooed by Ben Ali Gator (who symbolizes Enzo Grimaldo) and by her deep sleep, as in the opera Laura also is sent into a deep sleep.

Hyacinth Hippo comes out of the pool. She eats grapes while shaking water off her ballet slippers and tail. She is dressed in a tutu by her servants, making herself up with a powder puff, and then begins to dance slowly and gracefully - ironically much more gracefully than the skinny ostriches - playing 'pat-a-cake' with her hippo servants and pirouetting, spinning her fat up her body and sinking down again. However, this soon tires her out and she yawns. Her servants pull her to a couch, and she falls asleep, her weight bending the couch visibly as evening falls.

With the film's direction by Joe Grant and Dick Huemer and the ingenious production supervision by Ben Sharpsteen, the film represented a bold experiment by Disney. This was a way for Disney to bring to life a vision of blending animated imagery with classical music. What had begun as a vehicle to enhance Mickey Mouse's career blossomed into a full-blown feature movie, which remains unique in the history of animation. When released this film got great critical acclaim and was seen by critics as a masterpiece.

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