"The Nutcracker Fantasy" is unlike any animated film I have ever seen. The puppet-animation, which looks remarkably similar to the later puppet-animation of Rankin/Bass, is exquisitely detailed and beautiful. The story is told in such a fantastic and mystical way that it leaves the viewer feeling a bit dreamy, confused and even disoriented. To tell you the truth, I have seen this film several times and still cannot describe it completely. But it's basically about a girl named Clara who receives a nutcracker doll from her Uncle Drosselmeyer and falls in and out of a fever-induced hallucinogenic state. Here she dreams of the nutcracker being attacked by an army of wild rats who are led by an evil 2-headed rat. The rest of the story goes beyond explanation but glimpses include the nutcracker doll coming to life and a kingdom where a princess, who exactly resembles Clara, has been kidnapped. It is a wonderful special that I enjoy watching every year on the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. "The Nutcracker Fantasy" features an all-star cast including Christopher Lee, Melissa Gilbert, Eva Gabor, Michele Lee, Roddy McDowall, Dick Van Patten and others providing voices for the puppets. If you can find a copy of this film, I highly recommend watching it.
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