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The Nutcracker Prince
TheNutcrackerPrincePoster.jpg
Theatrical release poster by John Alvin
Directed by Paul Schibli
Produced by Kevin Gillis
Screenplay by Patricia Watson
Starring
Music by Victor Davies
Peter Illich Tchaikovsky
Editing by Sue Robertson
Studio
  • Lacewood Productions
  • Boulevard Entertainment
  • Allied Filmmakers
Distributed by Cineplex Odeon
Release date(s) November 21, 1990 (1990-11-21) (United States/Canada)
October 5, 1991 (1991-10-05) (United Kingdom)
Running time 75 minutes
Country Canada
Language English
Money made $1.7 million

The Nutcracker Prince is a 1990 Canadian animated romance fantasy film produced by Lacewood Productions and released by Warner Bros. Pictures and directed by Paul Schibli. The film was based on the story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E. T. A. Hoffmann and also influenced by its ballet adaptation The Nutcracker. Tchaikovsky's music to that ballet is used as the main instrumental soundtrack. It received negative reviews from critics and suffered $1.7 million becoming a commercial failure.

The film centers on a girl named Clara who is gifted a special nutcracker by her uncle. The gift draws her into a world of magic and wonder, and she brings about the conclusion to the legend of The Nutcracker, Prince of the Dolls: a young man named Hans who was transformed into a nutcracker by mice, and can only break the spell if he slays the Mouse King. The film features the voice talents of Kiefer Sutherland as Hans (The Nutcracker), Megan Follows as Clara, Mike MacDonald as the evil Mouse King, Peter O'Toole as Pantaloon, an old soldier, Phyllis Diller as the Mouse Queen, and Peter Boretski as Uncle Drosselmeier.

Plot

In 19th century Germany, Clara Stahlbaum, her younger brother Fritz and their family celebrate Christmas Eve, though Clara is jealous that her older sister Louise already has a boyfriend, leaving her wondering about growing up. She immediately cheers up when Drosselmeier, an eccentric toymaker and family friend, arrives at their home with special gifts: a fully automated toy castle for everyone, and a Nutcracker for Clara. While trying to crack nuts with it, Fritz damages the Nutcracker. To cheer the heartbroken Clara up, Drosselmeier tells her a story about how the Nutcracker came to be the Prince of the Dolls.

As Drosselmeier relates, there were a King and a Queen who had a beautiful but vain daughter named Pirlipat. To celebrate the King's birthday, the Queen made a special cake out of blue cheese, but the scent of the cheese drew out all the castle mice, who ate and destroyed the cake. Enraged at it, the King commanded Drosselmeier, his inventor, to capture all the mice; Drosselmeier and his nephew, Hans, succeeded, but the Mouse Queen and her son escaped. In revenge, the Mouse Queen cast a spell on Pirlipat, causing her to become hideously ugly, and Drosselmeier was given the task of figuring out how to cure her. He eventually learned that the fabled Krakatooth Nut could cure her, and the King commanded all the princes and noblemen in the realm to apply, with the promise of marriage to Pirlipat once she was cured. However, the Krakatooth was so hard that all the men's teeth shattered upon trying to crack it. Drosselmeier was about to be executed for his failure when Hans stepped in and cracked the nut, thus curing Pirlipat. Furious, the Mouse Queen cast a spell on Hans, turning him into a Nutcracker. During the subsequent ruckus, she was killed by a falling statue, and her son's tail was damaged. Now free of his domineering mother, he made himself King of the Mice and swore revenge on Hans, while Drosselmeier was exiled by the ungrateful King.

Clara is upset by the story's ending, but Drosselmeier tells her that the Nutcracker will break his curse if he can defeat the Mouse King. In the middle of the night, Clara returns to the living room to spend time with the Nutcracker, when suddenly the Mouse King and an army of mice appear. A ghostly apparition of Drosselmeier also arrives and casts a spell that breathes life into all the dolls, including the Nutcracker, Marie, Trudy and the toy soldier Pantaloon. The two parties engage in battle, in which course the Mouse King threatens to kill the Nutcracker. Clara prevents this by throwing her slipper at the Mouse King, but then slips on a toy cannonball, falls backwards and hits her head, losing consciousness. The next morning, while she recovers, Drosselmeier comes visiting. Clara accuses him of putting the Nutcracker - his enchanted nephew - in danger, but Drosselmeier explains that only Clara can help him break the curse.

That night, the Mouse King returns, angry about Clara's interference. Clara briefly traps him within her bedside table drawer, but when she retrieves the Nutcracker, the Mouse King escapes and threatens to harm her kitten, Pavlova, if she doesn't hand the Nutcracker over. Drosselmeier reappears, and the toys awaken once more. The Nutcracker faces the Mouse King in single combat and defeats him, but Pantaloon is damaged while trying to help him. In order to get him cured, Nutcracker, Trudy and Marie prepare to travel to the Land of the Dolls through Drosselmeier's mechanical castle; Clara accompanies them after Drosselmeier magically shrinks her. However, the Mouse King, though critically wounded, has survived the duel and pursues them.

Arriving at the royal castle of the Land of the Dolls, Clara is given a grand welcome, but although she has fallen in love with the Nutcracker, she hesitates in joining him as his princess. Her reluctance negates the spell which animated the dolls, and they revert to lifeless toys. The Mouse King appears and goes after Clara with his dying strength, but ends up falling off the castle's balcony and drowning in the lake below. As Clara begins crying for the Nutcracker, mist begins to fill the castle, and she abruptly finds herself back home and the Nutcracker missing. Clara rushes to Drosselmeier's workshop, where she anxiously asks him about whether all what she has gone through was real, when they are joined by Hans, now cured of his curse and back to human form.

Voice cast

  • Kiefer Sutherland - Prince Hans/The Nutcracker
  • Megan Follows - Clara Stahlbaum
  • Peter Boretski - Elias Christian Drosselmeier
  • Phyllis Diller - The Mouse Queen
  • Mike MacDonald - The Mouse King
  • Peter O'Toole - Pantaloon
  • Lynne Gorman - Trudy
  • George Merner - Dr. Stahlbaum
  • Stephanie Morgenstern - Louise Stahlbaum
  • Christopher Owens - Erik
  • Diane Stapley - Mrs. Ingrid Stahlbaum
  • Mona Waserman - Princess Perlipat
  • Noam Zylberman - Fritz Stahlbaum

Additional voices

  • Len Carlson - King, Mouse, Court Attendant, Band Member #2, Spectator, Soldier
  • Marvin Goldhar - Mr. Schaeffer, Mouse, Guest #3, First Guard, Soldier, Band Member #1, Contestant, Spectator
  • Keith Hampshire - Mouse, Guest, Second Guard, Contestant, Spectator, Soldier
  • Elizabeth Hanna - Marie, Mrs. Schaeffer, Doll, Guest #4, Spectator
  • Susan Roman - Mouse, Mrs. Miller, Guest #1, Doll, Spectator
  • Theresa Sears - Queen, Mouse, Guest #2, Doll, Spectator
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