At D23 Expo 2022, Disney announced that an extended cut of The Muppets Christmas Carol It would be available on Disney+. It was met with enthusiastic approval from veterans. muppets fans. At first, it might seem strange that such a movie would have an extended cut, let alone one that elicits such joy from its audience. It is more than a chance difference. But the extended edition, and more specifically, the “lost song” it features, contains material vital to the story.
That was clearly on the mind of director Brian Henson, who made the announcement at D23. He explained the reasons behind the cut and why the extended edition has appeared on home video formats such as VHS and DVD. That, in turn, created other issues with removed content that have kept it an afterthought for so long.
The Muppets’ ‘Lost Song’ Takes Place at a Key Moment in History
The “lost song” occurs when the Ghost of Christmas Past shows Michael Caine’s Scrooge the moments of his younger life that led to his miserable ways. The key between them is the departure of Bella, the love of her life, who realizes that money means more to him than she does. The act breaks his heart because Belle genuinely pities him for the loneliness she has given herself over to.
In the extended cut, she sings a song as she leaves, “When Love Is Gone”, explaining her feelings. As she walks away from the young Scrooge, she is joined by the older version of Caine, who she cannot see but who sings with her regardless. It’s a sweet song and perfectly captures the emotions of the moment. More importantly, it occurs during the most important incident of Scrooge’s life. Belle is his best chance for happiness and companionship, but it would mean being less well off. She chooses the money and, faced with visions of the Ghost, bitterly regrets the decision.
The song perfectly sums it all up as Scrooge suffers a self-inflicted wound from which he never recovers. It also provides the necessary context for the film’s ending, as a reformed Scrooge sings a happier version of the song, “When Love Is Found,” with Bob Cratchit and his family. He feels a lot more distant without the previous version as a reference.
Why ‘The Lost Song’ on Disney+ is so important
In a 2020 article in Entertainment Weekly, Henson explained the reasons for the cut. Jeffrey Katzenberg, the head of Walt Disney Pictures during the film’s production, noticed that children at test screenings became restless while the song was playing. He decided it was “too adult-emotional” for the story (the scene consists solely of non-Muppet actors, with Meredith Braun playing Bella). Henson, who appreciated Katzenberg’s comparatively light touch on the project, agreed with the cut, although provisions were made to include the song on home video releases.
However, until recently it could not be integrated into the rest of the film because the negative of the cut was not available. That prevented its inclusion in more high-res versions until late 2020, when Henson revealed to the BBC that the lost negative had been found. And that allows the song to integrate with the rest of the film and restores what had been a painful split to a beloved Christmas classic.