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Jerry Lewis’ Holocaust film ‘Clown’ footage surfaces with Jerry Lewis playing a clown that leads kids to the gas chamber at Auschwitz

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The film in question is, of course, the now notorious and largely unseen “The Day the Clown Cried,” a film about, of all things, a concentration camp clown whose job it is to lead children into the ovens (as if clowns weren’t disturbing enough already). Since the film has only ever been seen by a handful of people, one is left to ponder – could it possibly be as bad as it sounds?
In short – the answer would seemingly be YES! After years of searching for even the most scant facts and information on this well buried film, FILM THREAT recently managed to procure a copy of the shooting script – some 164 pages of misguided, disturbing, egomaniacal and just plain fucked-up material that would have the crowd at Nuremberg scratching their heads in utter disbelief. Not only is it horribly written and lacking in any humor (the script specifically notes when things should be “played for laughs”), but after about the first fifty pages what starts out as merely a bad screenplay degenerates into a deranged, unconscionable disaster that almost makes you feel guilty for reading it… almost.
“The Day the Clown Cried” has been shrouded in mystery for years – the stuff of legend. Was the film ever even made? If so, is it really a comedy about a clown leading children into ovens? Any hard details regarding the film, even what it is actually about, have been all but unobtainable. That is, UNTIL NOW!
Even Jerry Lewis admits his unreleased 1970s Holocaust movie is “bad, bad, bad” — no minor fact because the 87-year-old comedian directed, wrote and starred in the film. Now, thanks to some leaked video, people can see how Lewis might have been right.
A seven-minute report from a 1972 Danish television show about the making of“The Day the Clown Cried” surfaced recently, and based on that, the movie looks hammy and self-important at the same time.
Shot more than 40 years ago, the movie stars Lewis, in one of his first serious turns as an actor, as a circus performer arrested by the Gestapo and thrown into a concentration camp. Once there, he starts performing for Jewish children, and reportedly travels with some of them to Auschwitz.
The movie was never released and only a handful of people have ever seen it. It nevertheless is considered one of the great fiascoes in modern movie history, joining the ranks of “Ishtar,” “Gigli,” “Howard the Duck” and “Heaven’s Gate.”
In the newly surfaced video, Lewis is seen in a few scenes doing a bit with a cigarette and a flickering candle, flying a paper airplane and then trying (and largely failing) to juggle a few balls.
In a 1992 story about the film in Spy magazine, Harry Shearer(who had seen “The Day the Clown Cried”) said: “The closest I can come to describing the effect is if you flew down to Tijuana and suddenly saw a painting on black velvet of Auschwitz.”  >>more<<

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