LOST & FOUND FILM CLUB: Nutcracker Fantasy

In the late-’70s, Sanrio (yes, the Hello Kitty people) unleashed this wondrously unusual stop-motion confection that has sadly laid unsavored for ages. Ex-Rankin/Bass animator Takeo Nakamura was the lucky fellow called upon to employ the signature “Animagic” technique of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to this vaguely festive, awesomely bizarro sugarplum dream — one in which and the signifiers of Christmas fare are all there, except Christmas is never once mentioned. The titular fantasy seems adapted from a German-to-Japanese-to-English translation of the original yarn, rather than the beloved ballet (though its melodies are employed on the Moog-drenched soundtrack to super-groovy effect.) Adding to the beautiful confusion are elaborate musical numbers, plus the voice talents of showbiz stalwarts like Christopher Lee, Roddy McDowall, Dick Van Patten and Jo Anne Worley as the “Nut of Darkness”-wielding, two-headed rat queen. Not screened since its initial release, never on DVD and presented here on our favorite format, 16mm film!

Dir. Takeo Nakamura, 1979, 16mm, 82 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!