The Nutcracker is another Christmas story I love besides L. Frank Baum's "The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus." This film (that is based on the story by German author E.T.A. Hoffman), was straight out of my childhood. The story is just like the original story: It starts at Christmas Eve, at the Stahlbaum household, Karl & Ingird Stahlbaum are enjoying the new tree with their three children: Louise,Clara and Fritz. After opening their presents, guests start to arrive for the Christmas party. One guest in particular is Uncle Drosselmeir, who gives the family an intricate toy castle, and gives Clara a Nutcracker. Ah, but it is not just any Nutcracker, Uncle Drosselmeir warns her. The Nutcracker used to be a human boy, Uncle Drosselmeir says, but after he (the boy) broke a spell the Mouse Queen had placed over a princess, he had been cursed to become a Nutcracker Prince. At first it all seems to be just another fairy story to Clara. (And though she does enjoy a good fairy story,they are just that... stories.) That night, after everyone has gone to bed, Clara steals downstairs to dance with her new Nutcracker. But suddenly the Mouse King appears, intent on extracting the revenge he believes the Nutcracker owes him. And right then, before Clara's eyes,the Nutcracker comes to life, thus starting a strange dream-like war between dolls and mice.
My family used to rent the film on video for Christmas; I had watched it, and I love it. Of course, years later I was lucky to found (and bought) a copy of the film at a used Record/CD/VHS/DVD shop. I still watch the film near Christmas, and I still love this wonderfully animated film after all these years. As I said many times, I don't have a favorite scene, because I love the WHOLE film - from beginning to end; but I love Clara, her kitten Pavlova and the budding romance between her and her Nutcracker Prince. I also love the music from Tchaikovsky's ballet rendition that is used at throughout the film as the main instrumental soundtrack, and as I always say I love a film with a good soundtrack.