Footage from Jerry Lewis' The Day the Clown Cried, perhaps the most infamous unreleased film of all time, leaked online on Saturday. Lewis starred in and directed the film, which told the story of a German circus clown who was arrested by the Nazis and, as punishment, was ordered to lead children into the gas chambers of Auschwitz.
The behind-the-scenes footage includes several takes from the film, which was shot in the early 70s, plus an interview with Lewis in which the comedian discusses Charlie Chaplin's influence.
After several disastrous test screenings, Lewis decided the film was beyond repair and locked it away, promising to keep it hidden forever. In an interview at this year's Cannes Film Festival, Lewis said, “It was bad, and it was bad because I lost the magic. You will never see it. No one will ever see it, because I'm embarrassed at the poor work.”
“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.”
And the Howard Stern interview:
Other behind-the-scenes footage from the film leaked several years ago, though that footage was much shorter and less revealing than the clip leaked yesterday.
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