One of the most notorious, unreleased films ever made, Jerry Lewis‘ Holocaust drama “The Day The Clown Cried” has long been the subject of rumor and speculation. Even Lewis himself, who has long been sitting on the only copy of the movie, has veered in recent interviews from being “embarrassed” to “proud” of the effort in which he plays a German circus clown arrested by the Gestapo after mocking Hitler, and who is eventually forced by the Nazis to perform and help lead Jewish children to concentration camp gas chambers. But he has long held he would never show the movie (which was plagued by production and financial woes) publicly, though he thinks if he had a chance to tweak it, maybe it could work.
“I think about this a lot. If I could pull certain specific elements from the project, and give me these three or four elements that I can do what I want with, if I hired Lincoln Center one night, for a specific audience, and give me one week shooting to let me shoot a beginning to that, a beginning to that, and a beginning to that and let me show that…. Whoooo-weeeee! It would be fucking wonderful to think about,” he said in 2013, adding: “What I would shoot would be strictly as a marketing presentation tool for that night and it would all be thrown away after that night.”
Well, that’s not happening, but Lewis is making the picture available for future generations. The LA Times reveals that the Library Of Congress has just received a collection of Lewis’ work from the man himself, including “The Day The Clown Cried.” But there’s one caveat: Lewis made the Library agree not to screen the movie for ten years.
So, the wait will continue, but it looks like this little piece of movie history will finally come to light in a decade. Until then, you can check out some footage and behind-the-scenes material right here.