WATCH: The Making of Jerry Lewis’ Unreleased Movie: ‘The Day the Clown Cried’
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WATCH: The Making of Jerry Lewis’ Unreleased Movie: ‘The Day the Clown Cried’

In 1972 Jerry Lewis made a movie that became infamous amongst movie buffs because it was never released and the select few that saw it all agreed it was superb, it was called The Day the Clown Cried. It details a clown in Germany during WWII, Helmut Doork, who is arrested by the Gestapo for making fun of Hitler. After being thrown in a concentration camp, Doork lives in a state of denial including telling his fellow prisoners how big of a star he is.

The final scene is the most harrowing, as a group of Jewish children are being led into a gas chamber or “shower” as the guards refer to it. Doork, knowing they will all die, entertains them with his whacky antics. The movie ends as the children await certain death, laughing.

The Simpsons’ star Harry Shearer told Spy Magazine in 1992 about having seen the movie:

With most of these kinds of things, you find that the anticipation, or the concept, is better than the thing itself. But seeing this film was really awe-inspiring, in that you are rarely in the presence of a perfect object. This was a perfect object. 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.

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