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More of Jerry Lewis’ Holocaust Comedy Surfaces
The Tablet ^ | January 6, 2014 | Stephanie Butnick

Posted on 01/06/2014 12:15:19 PM PST by nickcarraway

These 25 minutes of footage and interviews are the last of it, we’re promised

Remember Jerry Lewis’ never-released Holocaust film? The one about the German-Jewish clown sent to Auschwitz (!) to entertain children as they’re sent to the gas chamber (!)? The grotesque comedic rendering of concentration camp life in which—spoiler alert—Lewis’ clown decides to voluntarily enter the gas chambers himself could have been the stuff of cinematic urban legend—Lewis told the New Yorker the film would never see the light of day—but thanks to the Internet it’s very, very real.

The 1972 film, The Day the Clown Cried, which Spy magazine called “the most notorious cinematic miscue in history,” began seeping out to the masses this summer, thanks to a YouTube user who posted from a clip of the film which aired as part of a Flemish documentary in 1972. Now, Slate reports, two more clips have surfaced on YouTube—another clip from the film (from the same documentary), and footage of Lewis discussing the film in an interview.

The good news is that Slate assures us the two clips are the last remaining footage from the film. So you’ll never have to watch it—or think about it, even—again. For now, though, here they are:


TOPICS: Humor; TV/Movies; Weird Stuff
KEYWORDS: auschwitz; cinema; film; holocaust; jerrylewis; movies; nazi; nazis; thedaytheclowncried

1 posted on 01/06/2014 12:15:19 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: Borges; DollyCali; Perdogg

ping


2 posted on 01/06/2014 12:23:52 PM PST by EveningStar
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To: nickcarraway

Well, you can always watch the remake, “Life is Beautiful”


3 posted on 01/06/2014 12:26:03 PM PST by sportutegrl
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To: nickcarraway
Two cannibals are sitting down to dinner, eating a Clown when one says to the other "Does this taste funny to you?".

CC

4 posted on 01/06/2014 12:26:46 PM PST by Celtic Conservative (tease not the dragon for thou art crunchy when roasted and taste good with ketchup)
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To: nickcarraway

Some topics are so horrible and beyond comprehension that there is no ‘good way’ to talk about them that will leave all listeners feeling comfortable. Some of these topics still do need to be examined and acknowledged for contemplation. Jerry Lewis is/was first of all, an entertainer, later a director and producer. The motion picture was his mode of presenting his ideas. I have no doubt the movie is tasteless and caustically absurd, but, I don’t think he made it to be hurtful. Jerry knows this will always be a difficult point of history to admit we lived through. AT his age, he doesn’t want the backlash from people who don’t appreciate his technique of telling the story. Similar events of reluctant musicians playing Wagner for the Nazis did happen.


5 posted on 01/06/2014 12:26:51 PM PST by lee martell
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To: lee martell

***I have no doubt the movie is tasteless and caustically absurd,***

Remember the audience reaction to the Springtime For Hitler song and dance in THE PRODUCERS with Zero Mostel?


6 posted on 01/06/2014 12:32:38 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Sometimes you need 7+ more ammo. LOTS MORE.)
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To: nickcarraway
The 1972 film, The Day the Clown Cried, which Spy magazine called “the most notorious cinematic miscue in history,” began seeping out to the masses this summer, thanks to a YouTube user who posted from a clip of the film which aired as part of a Flemish documentary in 1972. Now, Slate reports, two more clips have surfaced on YouTube—another clip from the film (from the same documentary), and footage of Lewis discussing the film in an interview.

IMO this film would have slipped silently into the ether, had Michael Medved (the one and the same) not written about it in The Golden Turkey Awards way back in 1980.

7 posted on 01/06/2014 12:32:53 PM PST by Alex Murphy ("the defacto Leader of the FR Calvinist Protestant Brigades")
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To: lee martell
This was a documentary of Kurt Gerron, who was a famous actor in Germany before the Nazis took over.

He fled to Holland, but eventually wound up in Theresienstadt, where the Nazis forced him to direct a movie about how "wonderful" life was there. Once filming was finished, he was sent to Auschwitz and gassed.


8 posted on 01/06/2014 12:32:54 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: lee martell; All

remember: “Lewis’ clown decides to voluntarily enter the gas chambers himself “

It would be horrible beyond belief to have to entertain children before they are killed. I dont think Lewis meant this to be a light-hearted look at concentration camps.

If I was that clown I would have to do that same thing.


9 posted on 01/06/2014 12:38:18 PM PST by Mr. K (If you like your constitution, you can keep it...Period.)
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To: Celtic Conservative
Two cannibals are sitting down to dinner, eating a Clown when one says to the other "Does this taste funny to you?".

Second one says, "I feel like I wanna gag!"

10 posted on 01/06/2014 12:39:31 PM PST by Fightin Whitey
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

Yes, I do remember the reactions. To this day, I am stunned that Zero Mostel got away with it. Perhaps only because he was Jewish, Zero was allowed to say these things.


11 posted on 01/06/2014 12:42:04 PM PST by lee martell
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To: Mr. K
It would be horrible beyond belief to have to entertain children before they are killed. I dont think Lewis meant this to be a light-hearted look at concentration camps. If I was that clown I would have to do that same thing.

That's what Korczak did. He demanded to go to the gas chambers with his orphans, even though he had offers to be smuggled out of the Warsaw Ghetto. He didn't want to leave them.

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Korczak.html

12 posted on 01/06/2014 12:43:09 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: lee martell
Yes, I do remember the reactions. To this day, I am stunned that Zero Mostel got away with it. Perhaps only because he was Jewish, Zero was allowed to say these things.

Only because Mel Brooks was the director.

13 posted on 01/06/2014 12:43:46 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: nickcarraway

Small wonder the french love Jerry Lewis...


14 posted on 01/06/2014 12:49:10 PM PST by null and void (It is as if they all had one head. Too bad they donÂ’t all have one neck.)
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

The reactions I encountered were split between knee jerk condemnation by those who didn’t watch the whole film, wry acknowledgement of the inherent mockey of Nazism within both the lyrics and the somewhat effete rendering of the Nazis, and a thinly veiled exasperation from leftists who wish the spotlight on what Germany was and who Hitler really was to fade into history.

What you saw the most of depended on what circles you ran in.


15 posted on 01/06/2014 12:52:47 PM PST by MrEdd (Heck? Geewhiz Cripes, thats the place where people who don't believe in Gosh think they aint going.)
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To: Mr. K

This may be the closest Jerry Lewis ever got to using the methods of certain European Film Noir makers of that time, like Ingmar Bergman. Bergman was well known to be a director who would embrace the existential void and sadness of life, as in The Seventh Seal, or later films with Liv Ullman.


16 posted on 01/06/2014 12:53:45 PM PST by lee martell
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To: lee martell; dfwgator

Jerry Lewis is Jewish.


17 posted on 01/06/2014 12:54:18 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway; Revolting cat!

Jerry Lee Lewis tackled Shakespeare, why not.

Let A Soldier Drink
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmhLAz5qU2g

Lust of the Blood
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rjNDOepPis

http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2008/12/whole-lotta-sha.html
December 11, 2008
Whole Lotta Shakespeare Goin’ On

Bob Dylan has recently been championing a pair Jerry Lee Lewis tracks on his Theme Time Radio Hour with infectious enthusiasm, ending one recent spin with the comment, “You know, if anybody ever asks me why I do this radio show, I could just play them that - Jerry Lee Lewis singing Shakespeare. That’s what this show is all about.”

...In 1968 the inimitable producer/actor Jack Good (whose own life story is positively mind-blowing) embarked on one of his greatest passion projects, a musical version of Othello. He snagged one of the play’s lines for the title “Catch My Soul”: Perdition catch my soul, But I do love thee! and when I love thee not, Chaos is come again. He then wrote his own version of the play, penned a slew of songs that cleverly played on the dialogue and themes, and gathered his musician friends (being the former producer of Shindig! helped) for hopes of a Broadway production. That didn’t work out, so he moved the show to a more rock-friendly environment - Los Angeles.

Rumor has it that Good was actually inspired to start working on Catch My Soul after seeing Lewis perform live in the late 50s. While casting for the play changed often during pre-production (at one point Othello was to be played by Rosey Greir) there was one role that was rock solid from the very beginning: Jerry Lee Lewis would be playing Othello’s treacherous friend Iago.

“This Shakespeare was really somethin’. I wonder what he woulda thought about my records” - Jerry Lee Lewis

Reviewers and fans were generally impressed with Lewis’ interpretation of the role - because he was basically playing himself. The writers at Moistworks summed up Jerry’s presence in the show nicely in a post last year, saying that

Jerry Lee stole the show. He prowled the stage, speaking Shakespeare’s poetry in perfect meter, but with no concern to conceal or even to temper his own Louisiana accent. The bright green-and-gold grand piano stood onstage throughout the play, and Jerry Lee not only sat at it to pump the songs that Ray Pohlman had written for him and for the seventeen-piece orchestra in the pit, but also to rake and hammer and tinkle in punctuation of his spoken lines, the most evil of Shakespeare’s imaginings. (He fooled with the lines occasionally, as on two evenings, coming upon the corpse of Roderigo in Act V, he howled “Great balls of fire! My friend, Roderigo!”)

...In 1974, Good brought the production to the big screen, with The Prisoner’s Patrick McGoohan directing. Released in some markets as “Santa Fe Satan”, the film was pretty much considered to be a holy mess. The movie did feature Richie Havens, Delaney & Bonnie, and Billy Joe Royal singing the Bard’s words, and in the only nod to Jerry Lee’s original breakthrough performance, the great Tony Joe White played Cassio as “a wino from Baton Rouge, Louisiana”, performing a new version of Jerry Lee/Iago’s drinking song.


18 posted on 01/06/2014 1:00:34 PM PST by a fool in paradise ("Health care is too important to be left to the government.")
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To: dfwgator
Only because Mel Brooks was the director.

Mel Brooks is Jewish.

19 posted on 01/06/2014 1:02:50 PM PST by Zhang Fei (Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world and that God will preserve it always.)
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To: nickcarraway

He needs to start an annual Telethon over Memorial Day weekend to make up for this.


20 posted on 01/06/2014 1:07:43 PM PST by caddie
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To: Zhang Fei

So is Jerry Lewis.


21 posted on 01/06/2014 1:09:50 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: Mr. K

You are right. Lewis intended this to be a serious movie, the one that would finally get him the critical acclaim and awards he thought he deserved.


22 posted on 01/06/2014 1:14:13 PM PST by GrootheWanderer
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To: GrootheWanderer

Lewis deserved more acclaim for “The King of Comedy.”


23 posted on 01/06/2014 1:17:46 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: dfwgator

This past year I lost a friend, Johann ‘John’ Bos. He was 88 and the sole survivor of his family and his wife, Julia, had survived internment at Theresienstadt.

http://www.sacbee.com/2013/03/22/5283557/obituary-johannes-bos-holocaust.html

John had an outstanding sense of dark humor and treated me to some of the funniest Holocaust humor. Coming from anyone else it would seem insensitive but coming from him you could see it was cathartic and I would not have denied it to him.


24 posted on 01/06/2014 2:17:59 PM PST by MeganC (Support Matt Bevin to oust Mitch McConnell! https://mattbevin.com/)
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To: dfwgator

Lewis was brilliant in that movie.


25 posted on 01/06/2014 2:57:21 PM PST by karnage
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To: Mr. K
It would be horrible beyond belief to have to entertain children before they are killed. I dont think Lewis meant this to be a light-hearted look at concentration camps.

I think you are absolutely correct. I obviously haven't seen the film, but the criticism of it sounds suspiciously politically-correct. One just doesn't mention the Holocaust, does one.

26 posted on 01/06/2014 4:13:21 PM PST by BfloGuy ( Even the opponents of Socialism are dominated by socialist ideas.)
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