Perhaps the true meaning of the season is getting to watch the best Christmas movie as it was always intended to be.
Muppet Christmas Carol director Brian Henson has confirmed to the BBC that Disney is currently working on a 4K remaster of the timeless 1992 classic, in which Michael Caine’s Scrooge is taught the magic of not being a jerk at Christmas through extended exposure to Jim Henson characters. But, in going back to the original film’s negatives for the remastering process, a long-lost song cut from the theatrical release will finally be restored: the full version of Scrooge and Belle’s bittersweet ballad “When Love is Gone.”
“I was so excited. They actually hid it…so I went down and they said: ‘But before we show it to you, we’ve got something else we want to show you’. And they put up reel four of Christmas Carol with ‘When Love Is Gone’,” Henson explained to the BBC, in an upcoming interview that will broadcast in full on BBC Radio 2 on Christmas Day told Radio 2.“I was like, ‘No, you did not!’ and they said, ‘Yes we did! We found it!’ I was so happy, I was so happy. They are all set with the full-length version again. I don’t know if they are going to get it up on Disney Plus in time for Christmas because they have all these processes but it is coming back, the full-length version is coming back.”
“When Love is Gone” plays during Scrooge’s scenes with the Ghost of Christmas Past, when he encounters a younger version of himself slowly watching his fiancée, Belle (Meredith Braun), slip away from him as he focuses more on business than the love of his life. It’s a mournful and beautiful song about watching someone you thought was your true love grow apart from you — and was a piece cut from the theatrical release by Disney after producer Jeffrey Katzenberg thought the emotional complexity of the song would be lost on kids.
However, “When Love is Gone” wasn’t truly lost, even if it never made it to theatres. “The agreement was we would remove it from the theatrical release but then put it back in for all of the television and video releases from then on,” Henson went on to explain. The VHS release of Muppet Christmas Carol restored the sequence, but when the movie was being prepared for release on DVD, only the theatrical cut was available. Until now, “When Love in Gone” has been left out of the picture — even on Disney+, the song is only available as a deleted extra rather than as part of the movie.
We don’t know when exactly we’ll get to see this new remastering of Muppet Christmas Carol, alas — but Henson has hopes there could be a festive miracle that Disney gets it out on Disney+ before the holidays are over, telling the BBC “they can do it, but they are going to have to scramble to do it in time.”
Let’s have faith in our hearts today that Disney can do it, then, so we can be be shining like the sun should it happen.