The Nutcracker (1993)

Film and Plot Synopsis

On Christmas Eve, a little girl named Marie 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 comes to life and defends her from the Mouse King, then is turned into a Prince after Marie saves his life.

‘The Nutcracker’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
The Nutcracker (1993)The Nutcracker begins at a party on Christmas Eve and is narrated by Kevin Kline. The party is held in the home of Town Council President Herr Stahlbaum (Robert LaFosse) and his wife, Frau Stahlbaum (Heather Watts). Adult family and friends gather in the parlor to decorate the Christmas tree, and the Stahlbaum children, Marie (Jessica Lynn Cohen) and Fritz (Peter Reznick), are anxious to enter and see the Christmas tree for the first time. Finally, the parents allow the children to enter the room and see the glory of the Christmas tree just as the guests arrive and the party begins.

A march is played to begin the party, and presents are given out to the children soon after. Suddenly, an owl-topped grandmother clock strikes eight, and Marie’s godfather, Herr Drosselmeyer (Bart Robinson Cook), arrives with his young nephew (Macaulay Culkin).

Drosselmeyer, a magician and a toymaker, has brought toys for the children. The nephew is the same age as Marie. Drosselmeyer begins performing magic tricks to entertain the children, and proudly shows off his life-size dancing toys that he brought to the party. Two of the toys, Harlequin (Katrina Killian) and Columbine (Roma Sosenko) begin dancing, and the children are delighted. Drosselmeyer also reveals a small Nutcracker made in the style of an old man. Marie is enthralled with the Nutcracker and claims it as her own. However, her jealous brother grabs the Nutcracker from her and breaks it out of spite.

Marie is heartbroken over the loss of the toy, but Drosselmeyer comforts her. Drosselmeyer’s nephew brings Marie a doll bed so that she can place the broken Nutcracker into it, which touches Marie. She and the nephew become good friends. The party continues until the “Grandfather Waltz” is played and the guests begin to leave. Once everyone is gone, Marie and Fritz go to bed.

However, Marie has difficulty sleeping during the night due to the excitement of the approaching Christmas Day. She sneaks downstairs and lifts the Nutcracker out of the bed. She falls asleep with the broken toy on the living room sofa. Frau Stahlbaum finds her daughter on the couch and covers her with a blanket. Drosselmeyer suddenly appears and picks up the Nutcracker and repairs it. He then disappears as quickly as he arrived.

Marie is awoken during the night. She sees the living room filled with life-sized mice. Additionally, the Christmas tree magically grows to a giant size, as does the Nutcracker’s toy bed. All the toys in the room, including the Nutcracker, come to life. The Nutcracker (Macaulay Culkin), now human sized, grabs his sword and begins fighting alongside an army of gingerbread soldiers against the mouse army. The mice are eating the gingerbread soldiers until they are joined by tin soldiers who fight against the mice. The Nutcracker engages the Mouse King (Robert D. Lyon) in a duel. The Mouse King gets the upper hand and prepares to kill the Nutcracker, but Marie throws her slipper at the Mouse King, striking and distracting him. This allows the Nutcracker to stab the Mouse King, killing him. Marie immediately faints afterwards.

The bed that Marie lands on begins to move by itself, as if by magic. The Nutcracker leaves and the bed finds its way into a snow-covered forest. The Nutcracker returns and suddenly turns into a Prince (Macaulay Culkin), who resembles Drosselmeyer’s nephew. The Prince was turned into the Nutcracker by the evil Mouse King, but he regained his human form upon the King’s death. He goes to the body of the Mouse King and cuts the crown off the dead King’s head. Holding the crown, he goes to Marie, wakes her, and places the crown upon her head. The two children then walk hand and hand into the forest.

Then, the falling snowflakes begin to take human form and come to life. They dance the “Snowflake Waltz”. Marie and the Prince appear after the dance. They walk hand in hand toward a star which resembles the Christmas Star. Act I of the ballet then concludes.

As Act II begins, Marie and the Prince arrive at the Kingdom of Sweets. The Kingdom is ruling by the Sugar Plum Fairy (Darci Kistler). In pantomime, the Prince explains to the Fairy what has happened to them. In honor of Marie’s bravery, a series of dances is performed by living candies, including the Spanish Dance, the Arabian Dance, the Chinese Dance, the Russian Dance, the Dance of the Reed Flutes, the Dance of the Clowns, and the Waltz of the Flowers. Then the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier (Damian Woetzel) perform a pas de deux containing the beautiful Adagio. As the celebration begins to end, the Sugar Plum Fairy kisses Marie goodbye. The Prince bows to the Fairy, and he and Marie fly off in a reindeer-drawn sleigh and everyone in the Kingdom of Sweets waves goodbye to them.

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Warner Bros. released The Nutcracker on November 24, 1993. Emile Ardolino directed the film starring Darci Kistler, Damian Woetzel, and Kyra Nichols.

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