The Jerry Lewis Nazi clown film, “Day the Clown Cried,” surfaced this week. The infamous 1972 film, which starred Lewis–who also produced and directed it–was described as “bad, bad, bad,” by the comedian.
But the film never saw the light of day, and not even snippets of footage were released. Recently, clips from a 172 Danish television show surfaced and was posted on YouTube, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The “Day the Clown Cried” was about a clown who was imprisoned in a Nazi Germany death camp during the Holocaust, but only a few people ever saw it.
YouTube user Uncle Sporkums uploaded around seven minutes of behind-the-scenes footage of Lewis, who is shown in clown paint.
“It was bad, bad, bad. It could have been wonderful, but I slipped up. I didn’t quite get it,” Lewis said of the film, adding “It will never be seen. Sorry,” according to Slate.com.
Harry Shearer, the actor and “Simpsons” voice actor, said he saw the rough cut of the film in 1979, and he suggested it was one of the worst films he’d seen.
“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,” he told Spy magazine in 1972.