On Christmas Eve, a little girl named Marie (Cohen) falls asleep after a party at her home and dreams herself (or does she?) into a fantastic world where toys become larger than life. Her ... See full summary »
On Christmas Eve, a little girl named Marie (Cohen) falls asleep after a party at her home and dreams herself (or does she?) into a fantastic world where toys become larger than life. Her beloved Nutcracker (Culkin) comes to life and defends her from the Mouse King, then is turned into a Prince after Marie saves his life. Written by
This version of the ballet, an adaptation of the famous George Balanchine staging presented annually in New York City, is the only well-known American production of "The Nutcracker" to use children in the roles of Marie (known as Clara in most versions) and the Nutcracker/Prince, so the roles are not choreographed to be as technically demanding as in other productions of the ballet. The original 1892 Russian production also used children. Several other productions, including the recent Helgi Tomasson one for the San Francisco Ballet, have taken their cue from Balanchine and cast a little girl in the role of Clara, but in the Tomasson version, Clara is magically transformed into an adult in Act II so that she can dance the pas de deux with the Prince (danced in the Tomasson production by an adult). Many other productions (especially Russian ones) now cast adults as the Nutcracker/Prince and the girl, usually known as Clara rather than Marie, so that there is an adult love interest between the couple. See more »
In the opening credits, Macaulay Culkin is listed as playing Drosselmayer's nephew, but he is not listed as playing either The Nutcracker or The Prince. See more »
Wendy Whalen's performance as Coffee is the best that I've seen. I recently the San Francisco's Ballet rendition of Coffee and although entertaining, it was not as awe inspiring as Wendy's caressing of the earth with the soles of her feet in this film version of the Nutcracker. I am on a quest to find Coffee performed as a pas de deux, which I was told in fantastic. I will continue to see different versions of the Nutcracker performed by various troupes until I am satisfied. Thank you Ms. Whalen, for the inspiration! I hear there is a Barishnikov version of this film recorded in 1976 that is really out of sight. Barishnikov has such a boyish charm to him that I am sure that I am in for treat. Also, for those of you who live in San Francsico, try to see the Yuan Yuan Tan as the Queen of the Snow. Her lines are so perfect that they scythe time and space. Chinese Tea accompanied by the dragon is also a show stopper. However, I do have one criticism that the dancers from act one do not return to the stage to take their bows at closing curtain. Anyhoo, if this film film proves anything, it that the performing arts is still worth attending. Furthermore, theatrical effects can be far more imaginative and innovative than CGI special effects.
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