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Jerry Lewis’ Controversial ‘Holocaust Clown’ Film Now On Youtube [VIDEO]

Lewis’ infamous, unreleased 1972 film ‘The Day the Clown Cried’ has surfaced on YouTube, giving film critics and historians alike something to talk about

By: Ashley Peters
Published: August 12th, 2013 in News » World
Jerry Lewis in ‘The Day The Clown Cried’

The Day the Clown Cried, a 1972 film directed by and starring Jerry Lewis, is legendary among movie buffs and film experts not for its cinematic nuance or its poignant screenplay, but rather for its relegation to the stockpile of films that have never been officially released.

But thanks to YouTube, roughly seven minutes of footage from the Holocaust Clown film emerged from its movie moratorium Sunday night, giving film historians everywhere something to gawk at.

The premise of the spurned film is regarded as a controversial one. It features a washed-up circus clown, played by Lewis, who is fettered in a Nazi concentration camp after mocking Hitler in a bar. As a political prisoner, he spends his time entertaining Jewish children, à la Pied Piper, before they are led to their deaths in the gas chambers.

Although the film was never released, it became a serious source of contention subsequent to its production. A 1992 article in Spy Magazine talked with comedian and actor Harry Shearer, who after seeing a rough version of the film in 1979 said, “This movie is so drastically wrong, its pathos and its comedy are so wildly misplaced, that you could not, in your fantasy of what it might be like, improve on what it really is. “Oh My God!” – that’s all you can say.”

Not only was the movie’s content and aesthetics vehemently challenged, but its financials were too. In fact, the right holders refused its release, leaving Lewis with one lone copy.

After a few test screenings, Lewis admitted the film was past hope and irreparable, locking away the megaflop forever. He even promised in an interview at this year’s Cannes Film Festival that no eyes would ever see it, vowing, “You will never see it. No one will ever see it, because I’m embarrassed at the poor work.”

That is until now. Thanks to YouTube jimmying the door and breaking the lock to movie purgatory, you can now watch a few excerpts.

The jury may have spoken for this film, but you can make your own verdict after watching the clip below. The following is a behind-the-scenes footage, featuring several takes from the film and an interview with Lewis.

Related articles: Jerry Lewis, Holocaust Clown, The Day The Clown Cried, Youtube, Harry Shearer
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