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Christmas long ago was the memory of a dream that seemed never to end. But somewhere in the middle of that dream, I always did wake up, just in time to attend the Christmas party.

— Adult Clara's opening lines

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Nutcracker: The Motion Picture (also known onscreen as Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker or simply Nutcracker) is a 1986 theatrical Christmas film, based on the 1983-2014 stage version of The Nutcracker by Kent Stowell and Maurice Sendak. It was produced by Hyperion Pictures, The Kusher-Locke Company, and Pacific Northwest Ballet and originally released in movie theaters by Atlantic Releasing Corporation on November 26, 1986. The film received mostly positive reviews.

Synopsis[]

Herr Drosselmeyer, a clockmaker and toymaker, is in his workshop. Suddenly getting an idea, he begins building on an intricate mechanical project resembling a cross between a model castle, a music box, and a toy theatre. After it is apparently completed, he falls asleep at his work table. The toy theatre stage opens; the rest of the film is implied to take place on this stage. Clara, a girl on the verge of adolescence, is asleep in her bedroom, dreaming of dancing with a prince before being interrupted by her younger brother Fritz, who summons a giant rat to bite her hand. She wakes up from the dream in terror. But when she goes to her family's Christmas party and sees Fritz playing with a hand puppet rat that strongly resembles the one in the dream, she becomes very uneasy.

Clara, her family, and all their guests dance at the Christmas party. Drosselmeyer, who is a friend of the family, enters the room and gives toys to the children. He also entertains them, especially Clara, by displaying the castle he was creating at the film's start, including moving figurines of a ballerina and a sword dancer. The guests are entertained by a trio of masquerade dancers, but Clara is noticeably uncomfortable around Drosselmeyer, who keeps looking at her. Suddenly, a nutcracker drops off the Christmas tree. Clara is amused by the nutcracker and dances happily around the room, but Fritz snatches it away and damages it with a toy sword. Drosselmeyer mends the nutcracker with a handkerchief. As the guests depart, Clara and Fritz are sent off to bed.

Near midnight, Clara goes downstairs to find her nutcracker. As the clock strikes twelve, the Christmas tree gets bigger and all the toy soldiers, as well as the nutcracker, come to life and battle the mice. A seven-headed Mouse King appears through a hole in the floor and grows to giant size. When the mice overpower the soldiers and the Nutcracker himself is threatened, Clara throws her slipper at the Mouse King, changing him into an ordinary mouse. What remains of the giant Mouse King is his coat and his crown. The Nutcracker crawls in the sleeve after the fleeing mouse and Clara follows him, becoming an adult as she wanders through the coat's passageways. She emerges from the coat onto a wintry pavilion, where she finds the Nutcracker transformed into a handsome prince. They dance romantically, and as they depart the snow falls and the snow fairies appear to dance the "Waltz of the Snowflakes".

Clara and the Prince sail away to a castle where they are welcomed by the Prince's Royal Court. There, the Prince and the jealous, one-eyed Pasha, who strongly resembles Drosselmeyer, develop a rivalry over Clara. Under the Pasha's direction, the members of the court perform divertissements, and Clara performs the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy". She and the Prince dance a romantic "Pas de Deux". At the end, she and the Prince, locked in each other's arms, are magically levitated by the Pasha after bidding farewell to the Court. Suddenly the Pasha waves his hand, and Clara and her Prince are separated and begin to free-fall. Before they can hit the ground, the Prince turns back into a nutcracker and Clara (a young girl again) is jolted awake from what has turned out to be a dream.

Notes[]

  • Much like the 1924 silent film version of Peter Pan, the film stays faithful to original stage version by PNB while incorporating special effects and blue screen shots for certain moments. The only thing made for the film version was newly-added narration by Clara as an adult.

Accolades[]

At the 9th annual Young Artists Awards, the film was nominated for Best Family Motion Picture – Drama, but lost to Over The Top.

Ensemble[]

Actor(s)/actress(es) Character(s)
Hugh Bigney Herr Drosselmeier
The Pasha
Vanessa Sharp Clara (young)
Patricia Barker Clara (dream)
Ballerina Doll
Wade Walthall Nutcracker Prince
Maia Rosal Mrs. Stahlbaum
Peacock
Carey Homme Mr. Stahlbaum
Moor
Russell Burnett Fritz
Jacob Rice Fighting Nutcracker
Dervish
Martha Boyle
Ann Renhard
Jennifer Homans
Adults at the Party
Snowflakes
Waltz of the Flowers
Laura Schwenk
Dianne Brace
Lisa Stolzy
Elizabeth McCarthy
Adults at the Party
Snowflakes
Moors
Waltz of the Flowers
Benjamin Houk Adult at the Party
Mouse Captain
Dervish
Beatrice & Benjamin Bassett Adults at the Party
Grandparents
Christian Cederlund
Gerard Ebitz
Adults at the Party
Moors
Sterling Kekoa Adult at the Party
Commedia
Gregory Draper Adult at the Party
Jeffery N. Bullock Chinese Tiger
Whitney Onishi
Cary Stidham
Emily Penhollow
Joseph Carver
Natalie Ryder
Elizabeth Parham
Gloria Rivera
Andrew Wilson
Stacy Emerald
Vera Parham
Amanda Thomas
Jason Takamaru
Children at the Party
Alex Gardner Child at the Party
Boy on the Bed
Courtland Weaver Sword Dancer
Dervish
Alejandra Bronfman Pas de Trois
Commedia
Kevin Kaiser
Reid Olson
Pas de Trois
Moors
Kyra Lit Dream Mouse
Deborah Inkster Mother Mouse
Chaundra Bigney Baby Mouse
Bridget Alsdorf Baby Mouse
Servant Child
Todd Brown
Christopher Smidt
Carolyn Stoklosa
Margaret Farmer
Anne Wescott
Fighting Mice
Observers
Robert La Turner
Karenna Marenych
Fighting Mice
Erik Cederlund
Jeffrey Plourde
Fighting Mice
Slaves
Marianne Chikos
Sarah Frederick
Laara Estelle
Eugenia Georvasilis
Catherine Mee Moen
Ashley Sherwood
Betsy Fenton
Amy Ritter
Gabrielle Gardner
Toy Soldiers
Observers
Rebecca Dunne
Michele Blie
Christa Halby
Toy Soldiers
Servant Children
Tracy Carboneau
Joey-Lynn Mann
Charina Dimaano
Erin Sokol
Heather Now
Nicole Fiset
Toy Soldiers
Scrim Mice
Freedom Ozog
Christina Nicolaidis
Christine Lebar
Toy Soldiers
Toy Theatre
Elizabeth Christianson
Lindsay Clothier
Sarah Coan
Hannah Burdge
Rebecca Osman
Noelle Scroeder
Toy Soldiers
Lee Johnson
Nicole Wolgamott
Toy Soldiers
Chinese Girls
Rana Standal Toy Soldier
Infantry Soldier
Carol Anderson
Lose Vaillant
Snowflakes
Irene Damestoy
Amy Greene
Susan Gladstone
Stephanie Irwin
Julie Tobiason
Clara Wilson
Snowflakes
Waltz of the Flowers
Carron Donaldson Snowflake
Commedia
Waltz of the Flowers
Angela Sterling Snowflake
Observer
Rebecca Brown
Kippy Clark
Christine Elias
Abby Hall
Heather Hollenbeck
Jennifer Kader
Sun Lee
Mandi Lyons-Hansen
Michelle McRae
Sara Pritchard
Jennifer Taylor
Kyoto Terada
Servant Children
Kara Chin
Jamie Geier
Mari London
Caroline Newman
Jennifer Paterson
Toy Theatre
Erica Fischbach Moor
Julie Harris (voice) Clara's Voice
Rachel Harrison
Jennifer Owen
Chinese Girls
Lucinda Hughey
Kay Preston
Heidi Vierthaler
Waltz of the Flowers
Jennifer Porter
Tryon Woods
Observers

External links[]

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