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The Day The Clown Cried

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30 minutes of Jerry Lewis’ infamous Holocaust movie have surfaced online


Jerry Lewis’ The Day The Clown Cried is like the Area 51 of cinema: Many have gone to great lengths to try to see it for themselves, but it’s held under such tight surveillance that few have managed to penetrate the security. The reason for Lewis’ reluctance to allow anyone to see it is understandable, however: The man wrote, directed, and starred in a Holocaust drama about a German clown who leads Jewish children into the gas chambers during World War II. It’s reportedly a glorious confluence of bad taste and bad choices, culminating in a perfect storm of terribleness. (Or, as Harry Shearer—one of the privileged few to have ever seen it—describes it, the film is “like going down to Tijuana and seeing a painting on black velvet of Auschwitz.”) Footage has surfaced over the years, but the complete film is still under lock and key. Lewis bequeathed it to the Library Of Congress, but only on condition it not be shown until June 2024.




You can watch all of it above, or just skip to the last five minutes and stare in goggle-eyed amazement at a sad-faced clown leading children to their death.


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I wonder if Lewis ever saw Roberto Benigni's Life is Beautiful?


*googles it*


In 1997, Italian director Roberto Benigni won Oscars for “Life is Beautiful,” about a father who uses humor to comfort his young son when they are imprisoned in a concentration camp. “Benigni stole the idea from me, but he did it well,” Lewis adds.


Reading up more on this and Lewis answered 10 questions about the film to EW back in 2013...This Library of Congress release in 2025 must be new b/c there's no mention of it in this interview. Lewis even tells the interviewer he'll "never see" the film.

Edited by Mr. Hakujin
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