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The Day the Clown Cried

August 12, 2013

This is making the rounds in certain internet circles. It’s seven minutes of behind-the-scenes (and a bit of footage from the film) of “The Day the Clown Cried.” If you know the story, you’ve already clicked the clip below. If you don’t know about it, here’s what I know about the greatest movie never seen.

“The Day the Clown Cried” is a Jerry Lewis film from 1970 that was almost finished, and never released. The plot: a clown performs for Jewish children in concentration camps who are being taken to the gas chamber. He helps keep them happy as they go to be exterminated.

As they were completing filming, the money fell out (producers who pledged money turned out not to have it, so I understand), and in trying to get more money, legal issues arose. Supposedly, the rights to the original novel lapsed without the producer’s realizing it, and the writer hated what Lewis had done to his (her?) story, so wouldn’t give allow it to be finished.

There are many better, longer reports of the film around the internet – if you’re interested, dig in. It’s fascinating. Here’s one from NewsfromME, and this is from Bleeding Cool. And IMDB has a lot of people with a lot of opinions in the commentary and discussion forums- take anything there with a grain of salt.

Here’s the footage, with large parts in… German…?

I love the bits with Jerry choosing lenses, and stringing up the Nagra (the audio recorder) tape. That’s not normal director behavior and feels very staged for the camera.

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