Skip to comments.'The Day the Clown Cried': New video surfaces from famed (and shamed) Jerry Lewis Holocaust film
Posted on 08/11/2013 1:39:22 PM PDT by SMGFan
This is making-of footage from a film that will never-be.
The Day the Clown Cried was a 1972 Holocaust drama directed and starring Jerry Lewis that was famously decried for its bad taste before ever being released. Lewis then buried the film, denouncing it as bad and made him feel embarrassed.
The script and a few stills are all that survive for public consumption until now, when YouTube user unclesporkums found this 7-minute clip of behind-the-scenes footage and shared it online yesterday. As of this writing, only 751 people have laid eyes on the video below, but that number is likely to skyrocket. Anyone interested in film history will want to glimpse this lost project, though it is unlikely to stay online long. Lewis has vowed to keep the film hidden forever.
(Excerpt) Read more at insidemovies.ew.com ...
It would have to be pretty bad to embarrass Jerry Lewis. Never heard of this, but it does have entries in IMDB and Wikipedia:
Helmut Doork, a once great and famous clown, is fired from the circus. Getting drunk at a local bar, he pokes fun at Hitler in front of some Gestapo agents, who arrest and send him to a prison camp. Helmut angers his fellow prisoners by refusing to perform for them, wanting to preserve his legend. As times passes, Jews are brought into the camp, with fraternizing between them and the other prisoners strictly prohibited. Eventually, Helmut is forced by the others to perform or be beaten. His act bombs and he leaves the barracks depressed, trying the routine out again alone in the prison yard. He hears laughter and sees a group of Jewish children watching him through a fence. Happy to be appreciated again, he makes a makeshift clown suit and begins to regularly perform. His audience grows, but a new prison Commandant orders Helmut to stop. When he refuses and continues to perform, he’s beaten and thrown in solitary confinement. But the Nazis soon come up with a use for Helmut, keeping the children quiet as they are loaded into a boxcar to be sent to another camp. Helmut complies, but is accidentally locked in with the children and arrives the next day at Auschwitz.
The first time I had heard of this film was through Michael Medved's (yes, the one and the same) 70s book The Golden Turkey Awards.
This was the notorious, unreleased Jerry Lewis film.
That is one of the greatest books ever written! It is Torah for me!
Has this ever appeared on network t.v.? For some reason I recall a movie with Jerry Lewis in a clown outfit in a prison-type setting on t.v. in the late 1970s/early 1980s.
Sounds like the French would love him all the more for it, ridiculous though it may sound to our ears.
Not a bad story. A bad director, that’s for sure.
Jerry Lewis once allowed Harry Shearer to watch the film, and he wrote an article about it. It might be online somewhere. It’s probably a very bad film, but hardly anyone has actually seen it, so its horrible reputation is based entirely on the premise of putting a goofy comic into a concentration camp and mixing humor with Nazi atrocities. Years later came “Life Is Beautiful,” a film that was beloved and racked up Oscars. Not to imply that Jerry’s film was anywhere on that level of quality, but remember, he wasn’t savaged by people who saw the film, just by people who were outraged at the idea.
Helmut is forced by the others to perform
It reminds me a little of the real-life story of Kurt Gerron, documented in “Prisoner of Paradise.”
“Has this ever appeared on network t.v.?”
No, definitely not. It was never released publicly in any way. It’s very famous in a cult sort of way. I’ve always felt bad for Lewis that he felt so ashamed of this. I’m no big fan, but he seems to have tried to be a good person.
Years ago there was a film, perhaps made for tv, about a chamber music group in a concentration camp. This film also has some similarities with “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.”
"Playing for Time."
Never heard of it.
I heard OJ Simpson filmed a TV pilot right before the murders and I’m dying to see it.
Art must not be kept from the world! Hopefully when Lewis kicks the bucket his heirs will wise up.
‘The Day the Clown Cried’: IIRC, Jerry Lewis gets goofy if the subject of it is brought up.
Maybe like Pacino at the end of this?:
I didn’t see Jack and Jill, it looked like crap and was heavily panned, I presume that must be the best scene.
“Jack and Jill” is probably the funniest film Sandler has made yet.
Everyone that I know (including Sandler haters) think it mo-fo’ing funny. Pacino is RIDUCULOULSY good in it!!!
For laughs - I HIGHLY recommend it!!!
Yeah, it was really, really bad. Pacino was really slumming it. Really. Dr. Phil was pimping the movie something fierce on one of his shows, saying it was hilariously funny. No, it wasn’t.
My Favorite is The Waterboy.
IMHO, it is.
You’re out of your mind. Pacino was mocking Pacino, which was funny as Hell.
“I talk to lemon trees.” Classic!
I don’t mind him spoofing his own image, it’s just that the movie on the whole was so awful and unfunny.
Difference of opinion then; I think it’s a hilarious flick.
Actually, I can relate to Jill sadness about her Mother’s death.
I do the “eat a meal with Mom’s picture” routine pretty much everyday...:(
Once upon a time, a friend and I had resolved to watch as many of the films mentioned in that book as we possibly could. It took us years, but by the time we gave up I think we'd managed to see fully half of them.
Oh, such dogs you sat through. Richard Burton: worst actor in the world.
Actually, despite this ridiculous dog of Jerry’s, he was a pretty good film director. Cinderfella and The Nutty Professor, to start.
I hated that Italian concentration camp movie!!!