Muppet fans, rejoice! At long last, The Muppet Christmas Carol will be available to stream as its director Brian Henson (son of Muppets creator Jim Henson) always intended, with the song "When Love Is Gone" restored for the first time in high-definition widescreen. Henson has shared that the uncut version will debut in 4k on streamer Disney+ December 11.
Written by frequent Muppets songwriter Paul Williams, the melancholy "When Love Is Gone" is sung by West End favorite Meredith Braun as Scrooge's love interest Belle, ruminating on how Scrooge's love of money has replaced her in his heart. Then-Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg reportedly had the song cut for the film's theatrical release, fearing the scene was too much of a downer for younger audience members. Henson objected, primarily because the song was intended to exist in counterpoint to a later song that remained in the film, "The Love We Found."
The studio restored the scene for the film's initial home video release on VHS and LaserDisc, and it was included in fullscreen DVD editions as recently as 2005. More recent releases on Blu-ray have only offered the song as a separate bonus feature, leading Henson to share in 2018 that he doubted the full, uncut version of the film would ever be released in HD.
That all changed in 2020 when the film's original negatives were discovered, allowing Disney to restore the complete cut of the film in 4k, a project that is finally being released this holiday season. The new streaming edition will be the first to feature the formerly deleted scene in its original widescreen aspect ratio since the original LaserDisc release, and its first-ever release in a high-definition print of the complete film.
The Muppet Christmas Carol re-tells the classic Dickens story with Michael Caine as Scrooge with the Muppets filling in for most of the other roles, including Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit, Waldorf and Statler as the Marley Brothers, Fozzie the Bear as Fozziwig, and more. The film features a screenplay by Jerry Juhl and songs by "Rainbow Connection" co-writer Paul Williams.