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62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally on an authorized DVD . . . BUT . . .
At long last, "Nutcracker, the Motion Picture", Carroll Ballard's film of the Pacific Northwest Ballet's Maurice Sendak designed production is available on an official Region One DVD from MGM, the film's current owner. However, the disc is part of Fox/MGM's manufacture-on-demand "Studio Classics" series. What this means is that you will receive a DVD-R of the film that...
Published on December 29, 2011 by Mark

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars if you can't see it in person, this is the next best thing
like all old VHS tapes, this one is a little fuzzy as expected. but it works and you get to see the whole ballet. since they filmed it as a movie, you don't get to see everything as it was on stage. i.e. you don't get to see the full troupe of dancers doing all their awesome moves as one as often as i'd like. there are a bunch of close ups that unfortunately don't...
Published on January 29, 2012 by franw


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62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally on an authorized DVD . . . BUT . . ., December 29, 2011
By 
Mark (Little Falls, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nutcracker: The Motion Picture (DVD)
At long last, "Nutcracker, the Motion Picture", Carroll Ballard's film of the Pacific Northwest Ballet's Maurice Sendak designed production is available on an official Region One DVD from MGM, the film's current owner. However, the disc is part of Fox/MGM's manufacture-on-demand "Studio Classics" series. What this means is that you will receive a DVD-R of the film that has been burned just for you based on your order. That's OK, as we shall see, but some may be taken aback by the paucity of extras on the disc. Also, be warned that the disc may not play in anything other than a stand-alone DVD player. Playback on a computer, for instance, is not guaranteed, and since a DVD-R disc remains photosensitive even after it has been burned, keep it out of strong light.

The first thing you see on the disc after selecting the feature is a warning card that states that the film was mastered from the "best materials available". Fortunately, what they did have on hand is serviceable. The 16:9 widescreen presentation seems to be taken from a high quality print, it is clean and exhibits good color, but is very slightly soft throughout and has varying contrast with considerable grain seen in the shadows. It is possibly the same copy that has been used for the various cable TV entities and streaming services that show the film, although compared against the download available from Amazon, the DVD's color seems more accurate. There is little in the way of digital artifacts present. The audio is clear and well balanced two channel stereo. So technically speaking, this is far from the best transfer possible, but it's still solid enough to make it worth obtaining if all you have been watching over the years is the 24 year old Paramount VHS cassette. If you can find the film on a good streaming service you won't be picking up a great deal quality wise, but you will get your own permanent copy and one extra thing: the movie's trailer, interesting to the film's fans because it uses alternate shots and sound effects that do not appear in the feature.

The disc comes in a standard Amray box but for some reason, the front photo is not the Sendak illustration and logotype that was part of the movie's original promotional materials, but instead is of a generic "Clara" and a ballet corps that seems to be stock photography. The back cover has a still from the actual film.

It's a shame that MGM has so little faith in this picture that it cannot see its way clear to a conventional release with better extras and a more polished transfer (the film screams for a Blu-ray disc). I would have loved to hear a commentary track with Sendak, Ballard, Kent Stowall and the principal dancers, and perhaps some other material. But it seems that this will have to suffice.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Nutcracker of All Time, November 23, 2007
This Nutcracker, with Maurice Sendak visuals, is a hard act to follow. This Drosselmeyer is the one TRUE version - in my opinion. But then again: everyone is perfect in this version. If you want the ballet to come alive for as it never has before..............or if you have a child in your life whose interest in movement, music and classical style you'd like to ignite ( WITHOUT turning to some awful animation or off- the-mark hipster version of a classic) then, this is your film. It's hard to convey its excellence. But I highly recommend this as a gift for any one of any age as a holiday tradition. You'll be carried into another world - and you'll never regret it.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Version, February 8, 2011
By 
L's Mom (Henderson, NV) - See all my reviews
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I saw this on tv in 1989 and recorded it, trying to cut commercials as I went. It was narrated by Tony Randall at the beginning of each act, explaining the story and providing details that made it wonderful to watch. It was the first ballet that I loved, bcs it was the first one that I understood. I've been looking for this for many years, and was delighted to find it today on Amazon's video on demand. The artwork by Maurice Sendak makes this beautiful, eery, and fanciful. Everything about it is wonderful. I can't recommend it highly enough. I love the "peacock" symbolism, and this movie has the best Drosselmeier I've had the pleasure to watch. Enjoy!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Common Man's Point of View., January 22, 2012
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This review is from: Nutcracker: The Motion Picture (DVD)
There cannot be too many Pro reviews for this ballet DVD, it is that good. The public has been clamoring for this ballet, "Nutcracker: The Motion Picture" to be released on DVD for years, and at last, their wish has been granted. It's probably never going to be available from your local Wally Store, but I got mine....From Amazon. Easy. Ordered it on Thursday, recieved it on the following Saturday. Excellent service, to be sure. It's being called a DVD, but in reality it is a DVD-R, burned for you (they say) after you place your order. I have a hunch there are a few already burned and waiting for your order. I don't see how they can get it to you in two days any other way.

The quality of this DVD-R is as good as any commercially produced DVD I've ever purchased. The image (widescreen, absolutely no distortion)) is very sharp, color is very vibrant, stereo sound is excellent, and the running time is the original 85 minutes. Although they always use the disclaimer, "this recording is made from the best material available", it is certainly not burned from a VHS recording, but some sort of good quality film/video stock. You won't be disappointed in the image quality. I've never seen a ballet performed by the Pacific Northwest Ballet that I didn't like. If you do not have their "A Midsummernight's Dream" you owe it to yourself to get it. You will see Patricia Barker at her mature loveliest....A Midsummer Night's Dream.....This too, is a children's ballet, They will love it. Need more suggestions for ballets for children? Look for "Snow White"...........No, it isn't Disney.Aragón: Snow White.....Want more? Leave a comment.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Holiday Classic!, October 30, 2011
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This is one of my family's favorite versions of The Nutcracker,and we watch it yearly around the holidays. My daughter had taped it off television years ago, and we'd been on the lookout for a DVD release to buy. Just when we'd given up hope of finding a digital version, Amazon released the digital video download. For less than ten dollars we received a lovely digital version that we can view whenever we want.

The dancing in this version is lovely. The sets and costumes are phenomenal, and were designed from Maurice Sendak's lovely artwork. This version of the Nutcracker has some narration, and it contains enough story to be enjoyable for the littlest members of the family to follow along. The staging for the dances contains many very memorable numbers... one of my favorites being the peacock dance set to Arabian Coffee.

This is in my top three Nutcracker perfomances of all time, and I recommend it highly.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful production, November 19, 2012
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Growing up in Seattle, I have seen Pacific Northwest Ballet's version of the Nutcracker 27 times. I was there the first year PNB started doing this Nutcracker in 1983 when I was 3 years old and have been in love with it ever since. I have always been disappointed that I could not get the PNB version on DVD to watch whenever I wanted, so I was very pleased to see it finally available digitally.

Instead of following the original ballet version, PNB went back to the original story by E.T.A. Hoffman. As a result the story has a darker side, most notably the creepy Herr Drosselmeyer. The return to the original story was the reason Maurice Sendak aggreed to design the sets and costumes. Sendak's involvment and the return to the original story make this production a ballet that will entrance even young children.

For those who are serious about dance, there is wonderful choreography by Kent Stowell and it would be difficult not to be thrilled with the exquiste dancing of Patricia Barker who plays both the adult Clara and the ballerina doll at the Christmas party. The peacock, the snowflakes, and the flowers are my personal favorites.

My only objection to this movie is the changes they made to the production to make it more cinematic. I could take or leave the narration and I wish there were less shots of the dancers' facial reactions since you miss out on the actual dancing occuring at the time. You also miss out on most of the incredible transformation that occurs onstage when Clara comes down after the party in Act I. This really is a shame since I have been to preformances where this transformation has actually inspired applause from the audience. Otherwise, this is a faithful adaptation of one of the most wonderful versions of the Nutcraker ever staged.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW! I found it on Video On Demand, September 26, 2010
By 
P. Christle (New Haven, IN, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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Just by accident, today I found Nutcracker: The Motion Picture available on Amazon's Video On Demand for under $10. Half the details and all the reviews there are for another film, but I bought the download and I indeed got "Nutcracker, the Motion Picture." Needless to say, I am thrilled to death because (1) I don't own a VCR, and (2) I watch all my DVDs on my computer anyway, so having the film as a digital download rather than a physical DVD is not an issue. Since I bought it, I can save it as a data file to a disc for storage, if I want to. I still hope it comes out on DVD someday, but at least I can watch it this Christmas. Last year, it wasn't even shown on any channel I have access to. The sound is good. The colors are bright. The picture is sharp. This is a great deal!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Maurice Sendak treatment!, October 25, 2013
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This review is from: Nutcracker: The Motion Picture (DVD)
Here it is! Ever since PBS broadcast the Pacific Northwest Ballet's "Nutcracker" with sets & costumes (and some other input) by Maurice Sendak, I'd been trying to videotape it. No luck - the show was mysteriously never announced in the schedules, and if I was lucky I might catch the last 20 minutes. The cover art on this DVD gives no clue as to Sendak's involvement; but thanks to a helpful reviewer I've at last located the elusive Sendak "Nutcracker"! The production itself: The cinematography is perfect, allowing us to enjoy close-ups as well as see the action from a theatrical distance. Sendak's sets & costumes are amazing & whimsical, and there's a rather dark subtext that older viewers may catch (nothing inappropriate for kids; they'll just miss it).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At Last the DVD version of this movie !, January 18, 2013
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This review is from: Nutcracker: The Motion Picture (DVD)
I have had this movie on VHS for many years. It is one of my very favorites. I had been trying to find the DVD version to no avail, and had given up. What a delight when I found it available on the Amazon website. I am so happy to have it. The clarity and color are much more brilliant than my VHS version. Thank you so much for offering this beautiful movie and at a reasonable price.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing classic, November 19, 2007
Despite the versions of this film not being high quality, that does not mean that this adaptation itself should be rated poorly. The dancing and production is flawless, set to the beautiful melodies of Tchaikovsky. I first saw this movie as a small child, and I will never forget it. The opening credits of the movie are in the workshop of Drosselmeyer, and the fantastic carvings and creations you see hint toward what will be happening in the remainder of the film. One of the things I love about everything that follows after this is that despite the lack of any dialogue, the emotions and thoughts of the characters are easy to discern from their behavior and body language--even their dancing tells you about them. Overall, this adaptation has a wonderful cast provided by the Pacific Northwest Ballet, amazing costumes, and of course, stirring and memorable music. It will manage to frighten, make you grin, awe with its beauty, and most of all entertain.

I highly recommend this! I wait excitedly for the day it comes to DVD.
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Nutcracker: The Motion Picture
Nutcracker: The Motion Picture by Carroll Ballard (DVD - 2011)
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