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The Nutcracker / Baryshnikov, Kirkland, Charmoli (1977)

Mikhail Baryshnikov , Gelsey Kirkland , Tony Charmoli  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (246 customer reviews)

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The Nutcracker / Baryshnikov, Kirkland, Charmoli + Tchaikovsky - Swan Lake / American Ballet Theatre, Murphy, Corella + Ballet Favorites - Newly Revised Version
Price for all three: $45.00

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Product Details

  • Actors: Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gelsey Kirkland, Alexander Minz, Nanette Glushak, Gayle Young
  • Directors: Tony Charmoli
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kultur Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 28, 2004
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (246 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002S6428
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,007 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Nutcracker / Baryshnikov, Kirkland, Charmoli" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Under Baryshnikov's inventive direction, the traditionally lighthearted story of a small girl's dream on Christmas Eve is transformed into a more complex theatrical experience.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
142 of 146 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and provocative performance September 14, 2005
By Elly
Format:VHS Tape
I'm not a dancer, former dancer, or big ballet fan -- just a musician who's seen several different "Nutcrackers" and, frankly, not been thrilled by any of them. But this one is thrilling to me, and to my three-year-old daughter!

I've always found "The Nutcracker" boring and syrupy in plot, though I enjoyed much of the music and some of the dancing. Yes, this ABT version has an "adult" theme (or several) -- but I find this enriches the ballet for me and it's interesting to try to figure out who's who and what's what among the characters. (I've really enjoyed reading other reviewers' interpretations!)

Meantime, my three-year-old daughter is enjoying the story from her new-to-ballet point of view. The "adult stuff" goes right over her head. She's interested in the silly people dressed up like mice, the "big machine that makes fog" (the cannon), the Christmas tree that grows, etc. She gets out one pretty dress after another from her closet and tries them all out as "dance suits" as she twirls around the diningroom imitating the dancers' dramatic arm movements.

I find Baryshnikov's choreography fresh, free, and full of life. And full of surprises -- for example, I love the dance where Clara is gracefully tossed from one male dancer, or pair of male dancers, to another. I've read that Baryshnikov felt stifled by the strict classical choreography of the Soviet ballet, and in this "Nutcracker" I see him breaking free of that stifling tradition and creating a beautiful, thought-provoking, and -- yes -- provocative (for adults) new dance.

Baryshnikov's dancing is spectacular -- his strength, form, precision -- and rich in feeling. Kirkland's dancing is near perfection and her portrayal of her awakening feelings for her prince is excellent.
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153 of 162 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A coherent "Nutcracker" at last December 20, 2004
Format:DVD
Probably the most popular of all ballets, Tchaikovky's "The Nutcracker" is pretty much required holiday viewing for children and the experience is one to be shared with parents, too. The sparkling score, by turns intensely dramatic and supremely exhilarating, is as familiar as any Christmas carol or hymn.

The essential problem with the ballet's original staging is that the story line falls apart in the second act. The first act has a reasonable plot line given that this is a child's dream story. But after Clara helps the Nutcracker defeat the Mouse King and he turns into a handsome prince, they depart for the Kingdom of Sweets and, after the Waltz of the Snowflakes, the story line evaporates. Once the pair arrive in the Kingdom, poor Clara sits out the entire second act watching a succession of sweet treats dance the audience into diabetes, while Prince Charming deserts her for the Sugar Plum Fairy. In other words, the original staging gives the entire second act no plot line whatever, only a succession of divertissements with solo turns and a final pas de deux for the prince and the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Mikhail Baryshnikov's inspiration was to give this fragmented succession of dream images into a coherent story. Unfortunately as witness Celia Franca's infamous "it makes me want to vomit" rant, Baryshnikov's version is often misunderstood. Clara is not having an affair with Drosselmeyer, nor does he desire her.

The key to understanding Baryshnikov's interpretation is the Mouse King. It is immediately obvious from the King's costume--a long purple frock coat & short violet cape--that he is Clara's dream transformation of the drunken adult male party guest who wrenches off the Nutcracker's head (replacing Clara's brother as the culprit).
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103 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual Presentation November 16, 2004
Format:DVD
I must apologize for my bad english, but I just had to write this rewiev. I had vhs tape of this ballett and I waited DVD version for years, so there's no need to say that I'm extreamly happy. Most of rewievers here said that the production is not excellent, you may like other versions more. So... I have seen all the versions and I must say they can't compete with this one. They all lack true feeling. If you read memories of soviet balletdancers, you realize, how monotonous was the repertory politics in Kirov or Bolshoi Ballett. ABT gave Baryshnikov a chance to do things differently and who can claim that it's bad?

Example:rewier "rss28" claimes that the great pas de deux is actually pas de trois...only because Drosselmeyer appers to be in the scene! I see it otherwise. Mr. Drosselmeyer is NOT a person here, but he appers to be the TIME. Time flys by, if we like something, we always have to little time to enjoy it, Clara doesn't want to go home, but she has to and time has come. In all other versions the Prince and Clara are watching the pas de deux, but here they are actually involved, it's their story and this dance gives a ballett hole new meaning and depth. I'm sorry, but normally this pas de deux is boring, it's only fireworks and tehnique, no EMOTION! But it was Anna Pavlova who said that ballett is not a tehniqe, but soul. To me the pas de deux is extreamly beautiful, I can see love, sweet passion, all these tender feelings. Thank you, mr. Baryshnikov for that great experience.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
This version of the Nutcracker contains some of the most moving, spectacular dancing you will ever see on video (and will rival most, if not all, of the live dancing you will ever see!). Ignore the amateur critics who try to tell you that there is some kind of sinister, pedophilic undertone to the relationship between Clara, danced by the incomparable Gelsey Kirkland, and her Uncle Drosselmeyer, danced by Sasha Minz. He is her godfather, she is his niece, nothing more. He gives her the gift of a dream, and when the dream is over, he comes to take her back to reality. There is nothing sinister here. THIS VIDEO IS COMPLETELY APPROPRIATE FOR CHILDREN!

As a highly trained ballet dancer who has loved this version of the Nutcracker for many, many years, I can say without hesitation that this is absolutely the best version available. The Balanchine version, no matter which company dances it, is cheesy and uninspired. The choreography is dry and simplistic. I've never been a fan of Balanchine, who dumbed down the art of ballet until it was almost depressing. Baryshnikov's version is a breath of fresh air, and watching him with Ms. Kirkland will take your breath away. There's a reason the 1970s were the (albeit brief) American dance renaissance. This version brings life back into the ballet. If you haven't had the pleasure of catching this unbelievable ballet on PBS, do not hesitate to buy it. I've been watching it for 26 years and the final pas de deux still brings tears to my eyes!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My Grand daughter loves to watch this at Christmas!
Published 12 days ago by Yisraela
5.0 out of 5 stars Ballet
Just plain beautiful. And relaxing. And Christmasy.
Published 16 days ago by Jackie Favazza
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The best ever Nutcracker
Published 21 days ago by Sade Warner
5.0 out of 5 stars Oldie but goodie!
Last saw on PBS TV Xmas special in 1970s. Mikhail Baryshnikov is the ONLY Nutcracker Prince for us! And the Nutcracker on ice is superb!
Published 1 month ago by keimanandkei
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok
Ok protrayl of the Nutcaker and the Balay telling of the story using the various moves to show the different charters and plot.
Published 1 month ago by Edward Kirven
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic
They don't make it like this nowadays. Big personalities and unimaginable talent. I've seen lots of different live versions of the Nutcracker at the theater and none have come... Read more
Published 2 months ago by n8urgrl
5.0 out of 5 stars grandaughter
just seen I never sent back my review for you so sorry this tape was for my granddaughter who remembered seeing it when she was a chid
Published 2 months ago by theresa mollet
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of four versions on video.
For once the logic of the story was very clear. Performance absolutely enjoyable. The Mariinsky (Petersburg) version was also very good (dancing, costumes) but the story was a bit... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sven Ekblad
5.0 out of 5 stars a favorite
Been a favorite for years. IMO it's the best version of Nutcracker there is. Just had to get it on DVD to replace my video cassette.
Published 3 months ago by amartin
4.0 out of 5 stars Scenes Missing!
My girls love ballet and I thought they would like this. They have only watched from scene 8 on so far since that is what they like the best. Read more
Published 3 months ago by E
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