Nutcracker Fantasy

Critics' pick
Photograph: Courtesy Cinefamily
Nutcracker Fantasy

In the late ’70s, Sanrio (yes, the Hello Kitty people) unleashed this wonderously unusual stop-motion confection. 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 film — one in which all the signifiers of Christmas fare are all there, except Christmas is never once mentioned. Add in 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 and never seen on DVD, this screening is a real rare chestnut.

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