One of the most famous movies-that-you-cannot-watch is The Day the Clown Cried, a 1972 movie that Jerry Lewis co-wrote, directed, and starred in. The controversial film about an imprisoned circus clown at a World War II concentration camp has achieved legendary status both for being an obviously bad idea and for being shelved by Lewis. But a new BBC documentary The Story of The Day the Clown Cried provides some never-before-seen images from the lost movie about the fictional clown Helmut Doork along with some insight into why Lewis did not want anyone to see the movie.
If you just think about how a movie about a clown at a concentration camp possibly could go wrong, you may not need to know much more about The Day the Clown Cried. But for everyone curious about how a film got made that ends with Lewis’s clown leading children into the gas chamber at Auschwitz, the BBC documentary, presented by Jewish comedian David Schneider, is revealing.
To make the 28-minute documentary, Schneider used footage of Jerry Lewis discussing the film and also sought out other people connected to the making of the movie. Check out the complete The Story of The Day the Clown Cried below.
In 2015, Lewis donated The Day the Clown Cried to the Library of Congress with an agreement that the movie will not be shown for at least ten years. So, if you are curious, you may get to see the movie in 2025 (although the movie itself was never completely finished due to financial and production problems).
Until then, you will have to satisfy your urge to see a comedian in a Holocaust movie by watching Roberto Benigni in Life is Beautiful (1997).
What was Jerry Lewis thinking? Leave your two cents in the comments. Photo via YouTube.
(Some related Chimesfreedom posts.)