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The Nutcracker (1993)

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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 »

Director:

Emile Ardolino

Writer:

Susan Cooper (narration)
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Jacques d'Amboise, a noted former American ballet star who had dancing roles in such films as Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) and Carousel (1956), and who later became a New York dancing instructor.

Director: Emile Ardolino
Stars: Jacques d'Amboise, Judy Collins, Kevin Kline
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Darci Kistler ... The Sugarplum Fairy
Damian Woetzel Damian Woetzel ... The Sugarplum Fairy's Cavalier
Kyra Nichols ... Dewdrop
Wendy Whelan ... Coffee
Margaret Tracey ... Marzipan
Gen Horiuchi ... Tea
Tom Gold ... Candy Cane
Lourdes López Lourdes López ... Hot Chocolate
Nilas Martins Nilas Martins ... Hot Chocolate
William Otto ... Mother Ginger
Peter Reznick ... Fritz
Karin von Aroldingen Karin von Aroldingen ... Grandparent
Edward Bigelow Edward Bigelow ... Grandparent
Heather Watts Heather Watts ... Frau Stahlbaum
Robert LaFosse Robert LaFosse ... Dr. Stahlbaum
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Storyline

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 Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The joy of the New York City Ballet in an exciting family holiday motion picture.

Genres:

Family | Fantasy | Music

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 November 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$783,721, 28 November 1993

Gross USA:

$2,119,994

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,119,994
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original 1954 Act II "Arabian" choreographed solo dance role was originally, and always, performed by a male dance performer. In the revised 1965 Act II "Arabian" segment, Balanchine switched the male solo dance role to a female solo dance role. Why? Because, Balanchine wanted to give the fathers bringing their children to a performance some eye candy. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: This is the Stahlbaums' house. These are their children, Marie and Fritz. It was Christmas Eve, when there was always a big family party. The children had been waiting and waiting for their guests to arrive. The house was full of rich, wonderful smells of baking, chocolate, and peppermint sticks.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, Macaulay Culkin is listed as playing Drosselmeier's nephew, but he is not listed as playing either The Nutcracker or The Prince. See more »

Connections

Version of De Notenkraker (The Nutcracker) (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

The Nutcracker: Guests Depart
(uncredited)
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
The New York City Ballet Orchestra (with chorus) conducted by David Zinman
See more »

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User Reviews

 
As excellent and accurate a film of the Balanchine production as could be made, despite Macaulay Culkin
18 December 2002 | by critic-2See all my reviews

Those who have given this production such a low rating probably have never seen the celebrated George Balanchine production live onstage, or are letting their disdain for the star casting of Macaulay Culkin influence their judgement. The Atlanta Ballet was fortunate enough, from the 1960's to the 1980's, to be the first ballet company authorized to stage this production other than the New York City Ballet, and I have seen it live onstage several times. I can assure readers that the film is a quite accurate rendering of this production, and that the use of a child with limited dancing abilities in the title role is not a cheap stunt dreamed up to showcase Culkin; it was Balanchine's idea to use a child in this role, just as it was his idea to use a child for the role of Marie. The "heavy" dancing is left to the adults in the story.

This is deliberately a stagebound film; in a way, it resembles Laurence Olivier's "Othello". Exactly as in that film, the sets of the stage production have been enlarged to the size of a movie soundstage, but not made any less artificial, and the ballet is straightforwardly photographed with discreet closeups, and without the distracting "music video" quick cuts featured in the 1986 overrated Maurice Sendak-Carroll Ballard version. There are only two false steps in this 1993 film. One is the addition of distracting and completely unnecessary sound effects (mouse squeaks, the children whispering "Ma-gic!" to Drosselmeyer,etc.). Those sound effects are never heard in any stage production of any "Nutcracker", and they have been put in as a cheap concession simply to appease unsophisticated audiences who may not relish the idea of watching a ballet on film.

The other false step is Macaulay Culkin's nutcracker make-up, which looks absolutely ridiculous. When he is on screen as the Nutcracker, rather than wearing a huge mask (as is always done when the Balanchine production is performed onstage), Culkin is actually made up as the toy - he wears what looks like a bald cap, as well as a white wig, whiskers, and a beard. He also has his face rouged up somewhat, and the worst aspect of his make-up is that it is still recognizably his face, amateurishly transformed in a manner similar to Ray Bolger, Jack Haley and Bert Lahr's makeups in "The Wizard of Oz" (that film's makeup results though, worked spectacularly, as this one's does not). And a comparison with Baryshnikov's nutcracker in *his* production shows how wonderfully creative Baryshnikov's nutcracker mask was - the "jaws" actually seemed to move whenever Baryshnikov tilted his head back.

The dancing itself in the Macaulay Culkin version is excellent, of course, except for Culkin himself, whose dancing, as I said, isn't meant to even be spectacular. (The Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier are the prominent dancing roles in Balanchine's production of "The Nutcracker".) The film's colors, though, could be a bit brighter since this IS a fantasy. The choreography is also brilliant, and the adaptation of it is so faithful as to include the sequence that features additional music from Tchaikovsky's ballet "The Sleeping Beauty" - as Marie sneaks downstairs, falls asleep on the sofa, and dreams that Drosselmeyer is "repairing" the broken Nutcracker (this sequence was, of course, never included in Tchaikovsky's original ballet---it is the only sequence in this production which features music from a work other than "The Nutcracker").

Those who have missed out on this film, or those who despise (or loathe it) should give it a chance, despite its two big drawbacks. It is far better than it seems when one first hears that Culkin is in it.


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