The Muppet Christmas Carol is a 1992 American musical fantasy-comedy film. And it is an adaptation of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. It is the fourth in a series of live-action musical films featuring The Muppets, with Michael Caine starring as Ebenezer Scrooge. Although it is a comedic film with contemporary songs, The Muppet Christmas Carol otherwise follows Dickens’s original story closely. The film was directed by Brian Henson, produced by Jim Henson Productions, and released by Walt Disney Pictures.
The Muppet Christmas Carol was the first Muppet film released after the deaths of Muppets creator Jim Henson and fellow puppeteerRichard Hunt. The film is dedicated to their memory.
In this adaptation of the Christmas story narrated by Charles Dickens himself with the occasional commentary of Rizzo the Rat, it is Christmas Eve in 19th century London. The merriment is not shared by Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine), a surly money-lender who is more interested in profit than celebration. So cold to the season of giving is he that his book-keeping staff, including loyal employee Bob Cratchit, have to plead with him just to have a day off work for Christmasby pointing out that Scrooge would have no customers on the holiday and that it would waste coal to sit alone in the office. Scrooge’s nephew Fred (Steven Mackintosh) arrives to invite his uncle to Christmas dinner with him and two gentlemen (Bunsen and Beaker) also come to Scrooge’s offices collecting money in the spirit of the season to provide a Christmas dinner for the poor. Scrooge rebuffs his nephew and complains that it is not worth looking after the poor, as their deaths will decrease the surplus population. Fred is shocked at his uncle’s uncharitable and cold nature, but repeats his invitation, makes his own donation, and departs. Bean Bunnyshows up for a penny to hear his song as Scrooge throws a wreath at him.
The Muppet Christmas Carol was one of the ideas by Jim Henson shortly after the Muppets joined Disney and was directed by Jim Henson’s son Brian. Taking over the puppeteering role of Kermit, originally performed by Jim Henson before his death in 1990, was Steve Whitmire (Whitmire had already first performed Kermit in the 1990 CBS specialThe Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson, aired six months after Henson’s death). It was shot in Shepperton Studios, England and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
The film’s original score was composed by Miles Goodman with songs written by Paul Williams. Williams previously worked with the Muppets on the soundtrack to The Muppet Movie in which he and Kenneth Ascher were nominated for an Academy Award for writing “Rainbow Connection.”