This particular version of the Nutcracker, my personal favorite version, was filmed in 1986. I can remember, back in the days before cable had made its way to our rural area, this would be aired on our grainy PBS channel, and I would sit in rapt attention watching it. I have adored it ever since. However, now that I am an adult, and can watch it on a tv with a crystal clear picture and sound, I am noticing things I never realized before. First off the costume and production designer was Maurice Sendak. No wonder I was so fascinated with it. His artwork papered my childhood. As I watch it now, I see familiarity in the lines and curves. And it adore it all the more. Secondly, the adult Clara narrating the beginning of the story is the voice of Julie Harris. A prolific stage and screen actress, Harris just passed away this summer.
I am impressed with how well the production has held up; nearly 30 years later it still looks fresh and crisp. Sure, some of that is probably due to digital remastering, but a lot of it is due to the timeless way it was staged. In no way does this look like it is from the 80's. It really is timeless.
|Photo courtesy of Judy van der Velden|
Several years ago, I fulfilled a lifelong wish and saw a live production of The Nutcracker in Pittsburgh. We sprung for first row seats (totally worth it), and I admit, I got a little teary eyed. While I was never the kind of girl who dreamed of being a ballerina, I was the kind of girl who fell in love with the music of The Nutcracker, and watching it come alive was something I will never forget. For me, as with most people, the Nutcracker is a holiday staple.