The Day the Clown Cried, the notorious 1972 Jerry Lewis film about a German entertainer who was sent to a concentration camp after drunkenly mocking Hitler, has never been released. Production problems and Lewis’ dissatisfaction with the film prevented the film from being ever being viewed in any form, however footage has started to become available online. In 2013, the Belgian site Cobra had posted footage, but it was taken down. Very recently however, thirty minutes of footage showed surfaced on YouTube. The footage is mostly in German, with some English subtitles and is taken from the German documentary “Der Clown“.
Written in the early 60’s and languishing in production for years, before Lewis came aboard, this film, featuring such noteworthy European actors such as Harriet Andersson (Through A Glass Darkly), Pierre Etaix (Yoyo) and Anton Diffring (Where Eagles Dare) was beset by problems, including the producer absconding with funds, and the writers being unsatisfied with the final product. The result was the film languishing in vaults for years and becoming a thing of Hollywood legend which Lewis seemed to distance himself from. After elements of the film were nearly carelessly thrown away before being rescued by a vault employee and presented in the recent German documentary, “Der Clown” we can FINALLY see entire scenes (dubbed into German)from this amazing piece of cinema.
Earlier this year, the BBC aired a documentary about the film, which was hosted by comedian David Schneider.
In 2015, Eyes on Cinema posted an interview with Jerry Lewis that took place two weeks before the start of production.