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Watch The Day The Clown Cried: Jerry Lewis’s Holocaust Horror Show

by | 3rd, January 2014

THE Day The Clown Cried is an unreleased 1972 Jerry Lewis film. It’s the story of a clown who finds himself in a concentration camp during the Holocaust.

Like the Aryan Papers , Stanley Kubrick’s Holocaust drama, Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis and David O Russell’s Nailed (a   small town waitress gets a nail accidentally lodged in her head causing unpredictable behavior that leads her to Washington, DC)   you won’t have seen it.

 

jerry clown cried

 

The film ends in a gas chamber, with the clown going in to face his death with a group of terrified children, trying to make them laugh in order take away their fear. It ends with them all locked in, the kids laughing as the clown juggles stale bread.

 

American comedian Jerry Lewis performs as a clown at the 38th Gala de L'Union des Artistes at the Cirque d'Hiver in Paris, France, April 24, 1971. Watching in the background are, from left, Italian film director and producer Vittorio de Sicca, opera singer Maria Callas, unidentified woman, Italian actress Gigliola Cinmetti and French singer Hughes Aufray.

 

Why did he make it?

 

JerryLewis.com has more:

In 1971, producer Nate Waschberger asked Jerry to direct and star in “The Day the Clown Cried”, based on Joan O’Brien’s book by the same name, about a German clown who was arrested by the Gestapo, interred in a concentration camp, and used to march Jewish children into the ovens. Jerry lost close to 40 pounds to play the role. The shooting began in Stockholm, but Waschberger not only ran out of money to complete the film, but he failed to pay Joan O’Brien the money she was owed for the rights to the story. Jerry was forced to finish the picture with his own money. The film has been tied up in litigation ever since, and all of the parties involved have never been able to reach an agreeable settlement. Jerry hopes to someday complete the film, which remains to this day, a significant expression of cinematic art, suspended in the abyss of international litigation.

 

clown cried

 

Why was it never released? In 2009, Lewis spoke with Entertainment Weekly :

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When I asked you about  The Day the Clown Cried , you shut me down pretty quickly.
JERRY LEWIS : Why do I want to go there? If you want to play 10 Questions with me, you can ask me any 10 questions you want about it and you’ll get a pretty good amount of answers. And it will only be to satisfy you that it’s not so shut-down because you’re a nice man and I’m comfortable with you. I’ll give you 10 questions.

You’re serious?
Yeah.

Okay, I better weigh them…
I’ve never done this before, I’d like to see what I come up with. Don’t f— this up, Chris!

Do they have to be yes/no questions?
No, I didn’t say that. That’s kind of limiting.

Will I ever see  The Day the Clown Cried ?
He writes on a piece of white paper in green ink: NO.

Is there more than one copy of the film?
He writes: NO.

Is the film in a safe somewhere?
Yes, yeah.

Okay, number four: is the reason the film has not been released because you are unhappy with it?
He writes: Yes/No.
Which doesn’t mean that Yes, I’m unhappy with the work that I did. But who am I preserving it for? No one’s ever gonna see it. But the preservation that I believe is that, when I die, I’m in total control of the material now. Nobody can touch it. After I’m gone, who knows what’s going to happen? I think I have the legalese necessary to keep it where it is. So I’m pretty sure that it won’t be seen. The only thing that I do feel, that I always get a giggle out of, some smart young guy like Chris is going to come up with an idea and he’s going to run the f—ing thing. I would love that. Because he’s going to see a hell of a movie!

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Posted: 3rd, January 2014 | In: Film, Key Posts Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink