Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck The 10 Best Films Of 2003 The 10 Best Films Of 2003 The 10 Best Films Of 2002 The 10 Best Films Of 2002 Check Out These Minimalist, Old School Paperback-Style Posters For The Films Of Wes Anderson Check Out These Minimalist, Old School Paperback-Style Posters For The Films Of Wes Anderson First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' The 30 Most Anticipated Movies Of The 2015 Sundance Film Festival The 30 Most Anticipated Movies Of The 2015 Sundance Film Festival 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point

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