Documentary Tuesday: “The Story of ‘The Day the Clown Cried'”

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The Day the Clown Cried is a classic film for all the wrong reasons.

The film, a tragicomedy that tells the story of a German clown that entertains children at Auschwitz, was completed in 1973, but has never been released and, according to director and star Jerry Lewis, never will be released. Lewis has admitted in interviews that the movie is “bad work,” but there are conflicting stories that he was quite proud of it until he showed it to people and they had a negative reaction.

Despite his insistence that it’ll never be seen, Lewis donated the film to the Library of Congress for preservation, which can show the film after ten years. In the meantime, there have been a few documentaries and leaked scenes, including one embedded in a 2013 Grantland piece that summarizes all of the points regarding the film’s history and lore.

Below is a BBC documentary on the making of the film.

Previously in Documentary Tuesday:

Room 237 | Exit Through the Gift Shop | The Death of Superman Lives | 30 for 30: The Price of Gold | Paradise Lost | 30 for 30 Short: The Deal – Alex Rodriguez to the Boston Red Sox | The World’s Most Expensive Stolen Paintings | Imagine…From Pencils to Pixels | Behind the Music: Nirvana | Planet B-Boy | Soul Survivor | The Cheshire Murders | Sound and Vision | Welcome to Death Row | Einstein | 30 for 30: Broke | The Thin Blue Line | Surviving Alone in Alaska | American Meth | Born Rich | 30 for 30: No Crossover – The Trial of Allen Iverson


Christopher Pierznik is the author of eight books, all of which can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. His work has appeared on XXL, Cuepoint, Business Insider, Medium, The Cauldron, and many more. Subscribe to his monthly reading review newsletter or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

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