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The lost song cut from The Muppet Christmas Carol is lost no more. “When Love is Gone,” a ballad sung to a young Scrooge by his fiancée Belle (Meredith Braun), was originally cut from the theatrical release of the film due to Disney feeling it wouldn’t appeal to younger viewers, but was kept in the film for the VHS and LaserDisc releases. However, when The Muppet Christmas Carol made the transition to modern home media and streaming, the full version featuring the song was lost and only the theatrical cut was available. Until now.
Director Brian Henson revealed that the seemingly lost song from 1992’s The Muppet Christmas Carol has been found and reinstated into the film. Henson told the BBC he was “excited” and “happy” it could be heard again, saying that he received a call telling him the film was being remastered in 4K with the song intact thanks to a rediscovered film negative:
“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.’ I was like, ‘No, you did not!’ and they said, ‘Yes we did! We found it!’ I was so happy, I was so happy.”
“When Love is Gone” takes place when Scrooge (Michael Caine) is taken back to Christmas past and sees his younger self with his fiancée Belle, who sings the ballad when the young Scrooge chooses his career over their relationship. But Disney producer Jeffrey Katzenberg thought the song was too “sophisticated emotionally” and that children wouldn’t relate to it. “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 said.
The song would be available on VHS copies of the film, but when it came time for the Blu-ray release, only the cinematic master was available and the negative was nowhere to be found — leading “When Love Is Gone” to be lost for years.
And this isn’t just a fun addition to a beloved movie. “When Love is Gone” is the emotional crux on which the entire film hangs, and it’s vital to understanding why Scrooge became, well, Scrooge. The theatrical cut awkwardly cuts around it, transforming a vital scene into rushed mess. It also means the final song, a reprise with the new lyrics “When Love is Found,” doesn’t carry nearly as much weight. For people who devoured the VHS version of the film, the DVD/Blu-ray/streaming version feels woefully incomplete. The rediscovery of this scene is a cause for celebration.
You can watch the complete scene, taken from the LaserDisc release, in the embed below.
It’s unclear whether Disney+ will add the restored version by this Christmas, but Henson said, “They can do it but they are going to have to scramble to do it in time.”
“They are all set with the full-length version again,” Henson added. “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.”
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