Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever Roger Deakins To Shoot Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner' Sequel Roger Deakins To Shoot Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner' Sequel More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Simon Pegg Worries That Adults Obsessed With Comics & Sci-Fi Have Become "Infantilized By Our Own Taste" Simon Pegg Worries That Adults Obsessed With Comics & Sci-Fi Have Become "Infantilized By Our Own Taste" Cannes Review: Denis Villeneuve's 'Sicario' Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin And Benicio Del Toro Cannes Review: Denis Villeneuve's 'Sicario' Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin And Benicio Del Toro George Miller Says He Courted Heath Ledger To Lead 'Mad Max' In 2006, Reveals Title For 'Fury Road' Sequel George Miller Says He Courted Heath Ledger To Lead 'Mad Max' In 2006, Reveals Title For 'Fury Road' Sequel Watch: Michael Fassbender Takes The Stage In First Trailer For 'Steve Jobs' Watch: Michael Fassbender Takes The Stage In First Trailer For 'Steve Jobs' Cannes Review: Todd Haynes' 'Carol' Starring Cate Blanchett & Rooney Mara Cannes Review: Todd Haynes' 'Carol' Starring Cate Blanchett & Rooney Mara Cannes Review: Gus Van Sant's 'The Sea Of Trees' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Ken Watanabe & Naomi Watts Cannes Review: Gus Van Sant's 'The Sea Of Trees' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Ken Watanabe & Naomi Watts Cannes Review: Woody Allen's 'Irrational Man' Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone And Parker Posey Cannes Review: Woody Allen's 'Irrational Man' Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone And Parker Posey Simon Pegg Reveals Daniel Craig's Role In 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Simon Pegg Reveals Daniel Craig's Role In 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Cannes Review: Yorgos Lanthimos' Outstanding 'The Lobster' Starring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz & John C Reilly Cannes Review: Yorgos Lanthimos' Outstanding 'The Lobster' Starring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz & John C Reilly Watch: Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard In The Intense First Clip For ‘Macbeth’ Watch: Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard In The Intense First Clip For ‘Macbeth’ George Miller Says 'Interstellar' Came Close To What His Version Of 'Contact' Would've Been Like George Miller Says 'Interstellar' Came Close To What His Version Of 'Contact' Would've Been Like New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Watch: Rare Footage From Jerry Lewis' Unreleased Holocaust Movie 'The Day The Clown Cried'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist August 12, 2013 at 10:01AM

You haven't seen it -- almost no one has -- but there's a good chance that you've heard of "The Day The Clown Cried," because it's one of the most famous unreleased movies in history. Directed by and starring Jerry Lewis, the film involved a German circus clown arrested by the Gestapo after mocking Hitler, who is eventually forced by the Nazis to perform and help lead Jewish children to concentration camp gas chambers. Yes, you read that right.
0
The Day The Clown Cried Jerry Lewis

You haven't seen it -- almost no one has -- but there's a good chance that you've heard of "The Day The Clown Cried," because it's one of the most famous unreleased movies in history. Directed by and starring Jerry Lewis, the film involved a German circus clown arrested by the Gestapo after mocking Hitler, who is eventually forced by the Nazis to perform and help lead Jewish children to concentration camp gas chambers. Yes, you read that right.

The film went into production in 1972, but was initially held up due to a falling-out between the financiers. Once completed, the film was screened privately, emerging as a disaster that makes "Life Is Beautiful" look about as sensitive as "Shoah." "Simpsons" veteran Harry Shearer was at one screening, and was quoted as saying "This movie is so drastically wrong, its pathos and its comedy are so wildly misplaced, that you could not, in your fantasy of what it might be like, improve on what it really is," while the film's writer Joan O'Brien, described it as a "disaster." It's been lost to the annals of time, but over the weekend, Badass Digest dug up a YouTube video that features footage from the film, and interviews with Lewis on set.

Apparently part of a Dutch TV special about the making of the ill-fated film, it doesn't quite showcase the reasons the film's been persona non grata for so long, as you might imagine, but it's still exciting to see a glimpse of a Holy Grail of what-the-fuck-were-you-thinking filmmaking. We're unlikely to see any more for a long while -- certainly while Lewis has breath in his body -- but this is the second such leak in a year, and it's worth taking a look at what we have here before it disappears into the ether again.


This article is related to: Jerry Lewis


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates