Jerry Lewis Never-Released Holocaust Film ‘The Day the Clown Cried’ Inches Closer to a Possible ScreeningPosted: August 7, 2015
Not much is known about the film’s plot except that Lewis plays a German circus clown named Helmut Doork who is sent to a concentration camp during World War II and ordered to entertain children.
Joe McGovern reports: Lovers of film history and legendary movies — even ones supposedly so tasteless that they’ve never been released—had their interest piqued this week when a piece of exciting news was dropped in the 21st paragraph of an Los Angeles Times article. The Day the Clown Cried, Jerry Lewis’ notorious unreleased Holocaust drama in which he stars as a clown playing with children before they are sent into gas chambers, has been acquired by the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
“After I’m gone, who knows what’s going to happen? …The only thing that I do feel, that I always get a giggle out of, some smart young guy…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!”
What does this mean? Well, that we might finally see the film, though we shouldn’t hold our collective breath. According to the article, Rob Stone, the moving-image curator at the library, received the one known print of the film as part of a larger collection of Jerry Lewis work. Stone did not respond to EW’s requests for comment, but told a group of movie buffs at a festival of “lost” movies that the library has agreed not to screen the film for at least a decade.
See clips from The Day the Clown Cried, as seen in a 1972 TV documentary that aired in Belgium, below:
[Also see – interview with Jerry about the film]
Lewis, now 89, made The Day the Clown Cried in Sweden in 1971. Not much is known about the film’s plot except that Lewis plays a German circus clown named Helmut Doork who is sent to a concentration camp during World War II and ordered to entertain children. The production sputtered due to production problems related to an alleged financial dispute with a French producer, but the film was finished and a copy was printed, intended for release….(read more)
- Jerry Lewis’ controversial film The Day The Clown Cried will finally be released – in 10 years (consequenceofsound.net)
- THE DAY THE CLOWN CRIED May Screen In Our Lifetimes (birthmoviesdeath.com)
- The Missing Links: The World’s Most Dangerous Roads (mentalfloss.com)
- From the Library of Congress Archives: A Conversation with Randy Newman (broadwayworld.com)
- Jerry Lewis Gave ‘The Day the Clown Cried’ to the Library of Congress (splitsider.com)
- Library in the News: July 2015 Edition (blogs.loc.gov)