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. Read the rest of this entry »
The Chicago Tribune reports: Global fashion chain Zara pulled from sale on Wednesday a striped children’s top decorated with a large six-pointed star after it was likened to uniforms worn by Jewish concentration camp inmates during the reign of Nazi Germany.
The shirt, bearing horizontal blue and white stripes, was on sale online in three European countries but not in Israel, a spokeswoman
said. The resemblance was unintentional and the design had been inspired by sheriff’s stars from classic Western films, she said.
Within hours of the t-shirt being put up for sale, some newspapers had picked up on its resemblance to concentration camp uniforms and messages were posted on Twitter criticizing the design.
“The shirt bears a large six-pointed star on the upper-left section, in the exact place where Nazis forced Jews to wear the Star of David,” wrote Israeli newspaper Haaretz, calling the garment “hauntingly reminiscent of a darker era”.
@n_rothschild We honestly apologize, it was inspired by the sheriff’s stars from the Classic Western films and is no longer in our stores
— ZARA (@ZARA) August 27, 2014
On its website, Haaretz displayed a photograph of part of a uniform worn by prisoners at Auschwitz, showing a jacket with vertical green and white stripes and a yellow star below the left shoulder bearing the word “Jude”, the German word for Jew. Read the rest of this entry »
A parody of Saving Private Ryan the poster says it is “A Steven Spielberg Ploy,” and its tagline reads, “The mission is a fraud.”
The posters, which feature President Obama walking into the horizon between a pair of his teleprompters, have appeared on bus stops and benches throughout Los Angeles, including just outside Melrose Avenue, the main entrance to Paramount Pictures.
The parody film’s poster outside of Paramount Pictures
The appearance of the artwork coincides with Obama’s visit to Los Angeles on Wednesday to receive a humanitarian award from Spielberg. Read the rest of this entry »
From Russia with Euphemisms
Hannah Arendt coined the term “the banality of evil” to describe the galling normalcy of Nazi mass-murderer Adolf Eichmann. Covering his trial in Jerusalem, she described Eichmann as less a cartoonish villain than a dull, remorseless, paper-pushing functionary just “doing his job.”
The phrase “banality of evil” was instantly controversial, largely because it was misunderstood. Arendt was not trying to minimize Nazism’s evil but to capture its enormity. The staggering moral horror of the Holocaust was that it made complicity “normal.” Liquidating the Jews was not just the stuff of mobs and demagogues but of bureaucracies and bureaucrats.
“To read Anne Applebaum’s magisterial Gulag: A History is to subject yourself to relentless tales of unimaginable barbarity…”
Now consider the stunted and ritualistic conversation (“controversy” is too vibrant a word for the mundane Internet chatter) about the Soviet Union sparked by the Winter Olympics. The humdrum shrugging at the overwhelming evil of Soviet Communism leaves me nostalgic for the Eichmann controversy. At least Arendt and her critics agreed that evil itself was in the dock; they merely haggled over the best words to put in the indictment.
What to say of the gormless press-agent twaddle conjured up to describe the Soviet Union?
Geoffrey Macnab writes: The British Army Film Unit cameramen who shot the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945 used to joke about the reaction of Alfred Hithcock to the horrific footage they filmed. When Hitchcock first saw the footage, the legendary British director was reportedly so traumatised that he stayed away from Pinewood Studios for a week. Hitchcock may have been the king of horror movies but he was utterly appalled by “the real thing”.
In 1945, Hithcock had been enlisted by his friend and patron Sidney Bernstein to help with a documentary on German wartime atrocities, based on the footage of the camps shot by British and Soviet film units. In the event, that documentary was never seen.
“It was suppressed because of the changing political situation, particularly for the British,” suggests Dr Toby Haggith, Senior Curator at the Department of Research, Imperial War Museum. “Once they discovered the camps, the Americans and British were keen to release a film very quickly that would show the camps and get the German people to accept their responsibility for the atrocities that were there.”
The film took far longer to make than had originally been envisaged. By late 1945, the need for it began to wane. The Allied military government decided that rubbing the Germans’ noses in their own guilt wouldn’t help with postwar reconstruction.
Five of the film’s six reels were eventually deposited in the Imperial War Museum and the project was quietly forgotten.
Nearly 70 years later, the two are becoming friends
Samantha Grossman reports: Marsha Kreuzman, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor who narrowly escaped death at an Austrian concentration camp, has spent the majority of her life searching for the American soldier who saved her. Nearly seven decades later, she has finally met him, the Star-Ledger reports.
Kreuzman, who lost her mother, father and brother in the Holocaust, remembered a man picking up her emaciated body and liberating her — but beyond that, she had no further details about his identity.
“I wanted to kiss his hand and thank him,” Kreuzman told the Star-Ledger. “From the first day I was liberated, I wanted to thank them, but I didn’t know who to thank.”
Cathy Young writes: Is hostility toward Israel linked to hostility toward Jews? A report on anti-Semitism in Europe, released on November 8—the day before the anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom that marked the start of the Nazi war on Jews 75 years ago—addresses this contentious question. While Israel’s supporters have long warned of a new strain of anti-Semitism camouflaged in pro-Palestinian advocacy and opposition to Israeli policies, Israel’s critics complain that charges of anti-Jewish bigotry are used to silence dissent. Yet the latest study, “Discrimination and Hate Crime Against Jews in EU Member States,” strongly suggests that “the new anti-Semitism” is not a propagandist myth but a depressing reality. Read the rest of this entry »
Eighty years later, there’s no denying the Soviet atrocity.
“We went to a field. We had nothing to eat. Everything was taken from us. So my mother decided we would go to the field, find some half-frozen potatoes, some kind of vegetables, to make a soup. At that time the Soviet Union was teaching people to report on each other, to spy on each other. Somebody saw that we came with some vegetables, half-frozen, and they arrested my mother. That was the last time I saw her.”
Alec Torres writes: So Eugenia Dallas, originally Eugenia Sakevych, began her story to me. Born in Ukraine around 1925 (she does not know her exact age), Eugenia lived through the Holodomor — genocide by famine — as a young girl. Shortly before her mother was taken, her father was sent to Siberia, deemed a criminal because he owned a few acres of land.
In 1932–33, Ukraine was brought to its knees. After years of mass arrests and deportations had failed to bring the Ukrainians into line, Stalin decided to crush this proud nation with a new weapon: food. Ukraine, once the breadbasket of Europe, was stripped of its grain. With its borders sealed and its citizens imprisoned, an estimated 4 to 14 million people starved to death as food rotted in silos or was sold abroad. Stalin wanted purity, and Ukraine’s nationalism threatened his perverse utopia.
Items for sale include the clothes of concentration camp victims. Among dozens of sick souvenirs on offer last week was a striped uniform thought to have belonged to a Polish baker who died in Auschwitz, which was on sale for £11,200.
It was one of dozens of offensive items uncovered by a Mail on Sunday investigation. And within hours of being alerted to the item by this newspaper, eBay removed it from sale after conducting an ‘urgent investigation’.
The striped pyjama-style concentration camp uniform was worn by death camp inmates
Among dozens of sick souvenirs on offer last week was a striped uniform thought to have belonged to a Polish baker
The internet giant apologised and vowed to give £25,000 to a suitable charity, before removing more than 30 other death camp souvenirs which it said had evaded its strict vetting process.
eBay, the world’s largest online marketplace, admitted it had no idea how long it has been helping sell items linked to genocide, but one Nazi memorabilia dealer boasted of selling an Auschwitz victim’s uniform for thousands of pounds on the site last year.
The company receives a commission on items sold, as well as charging a listing fee.
A few weeks ago, when French Jewish actor Elie Semoun was a prime-time guest on one of the main French television channels, Canal Plus, the words of Sebastian Thoen, a standup comedian who introduced him may have been meant to be to be laudatory, but took quite a different turn: “You never plunged into communitarianism [Jewish activism] … You could have posted yourself in the street selling jeans and diamonds from the back of a minivan, saying ‘Israel is always right, f*** Palestine, wallala.’ You show that it is possible to be of the Jewish faith without being completely disgusting.” [VIDEO]
Semoun was obviously ill-at-ease, but did not react. A couple hours after the show, the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France (CRIF) issued a statement denouncing a “dangerous trivialization of anti-Semitism.” The President of the TV channel responded by saying that the Jewish community had “no sense of humor.” The incident occurred, however, in a context where the French Jewish community has no reason to have a sense of humor.
At the end of 2012, Jewish France was republished. The book is a tirade of extreme anti-Semitism, originally published in 1886 by the author Edouard Drumont, and reprinted repeatedly until after World War II and the fall of the Vichy regime.
Victims. Helpless. Downtrodden.That’s the narrative that’s been spread about Jews for the last 70 years since the Holocaust. We’ve embraced it to our detriment. We can’t seem to address antisemitism without running to the world and screaming that we’re being persecuted, rather than standing up strongly in defiance, aware of our own inner strength.
The Holocaust has scarred us, a yetzer hara sneaky bastard of a voice in our heads, that keeps trying to tell us how we are defined by our past, controlled by events that happened to us, instead of using those moments as points of growth.
And, in a weird way, that’s why all those images of us looking so helpless, so gaunt, in heaps of nameless bodies, have become a morbid fascination for us. We, and by extension the rest of the world, have chosen to define the Holocaust with these images.But there are other images. Images that show a more subtle, more true, story. A story that shows our inner power, our inner turmoil in dealing with a situation we cannot comprehend, our attempts to gain justice, and our final steps into moving above and beyond our past and into a new future.
These are the images you will see below. Some of them may be disturbing to you. Some of them may inspire you.But in the end, they do one thing that we desperately need as a people: they tell the real story of the Holocaust. A story that goes beyond victimhood and into our present-day lives. And today, on Yom HaShoa, 2013, it’s about time that story got told.