Lifetime Achievement

Does this mean that the world will finally get to see Jerry Lewis's forbidden masterpiece The Day the Clown Cried (1972)?

Harry Shearer is among the very few people ever to see the film:

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.
It is time for the Academy to pull out all the stops and get this thing released, somehow.   
February 22, 2009 3:37 PM | | Comments (9)



Seeing this is second only to finding out what really happened to JFK on my "want to know" list...oh, and seeing the director's cut of Magnificent Ambersons, of course!

Now that I've read that, I have a problem. If I tell anyone about it, they will think me a horrific person. (Somehow, Scott, you can get away with it. Not sure how that works.) And yet, I really want to tell people about it....

Especially with Lewis being protested for his denigrating statements about and approach to the disabled, it seems relevant, but it's hard to segue cleanly from one discussion to the other without seeming to violate Godwin's Law in some form or another...

Back in the days when it could still bring the funny, Spy magazine did a feature article on The Day the Clown Cried, based on interviews with the handful of people who'd seen it. (Jerry Lewis apparently had a VHS copy that he brought out every now and then.) One of the best things about the article was the artwork: Drew Friedman did a series of concentration camp scenes with the Nutty Professor era Lewis making faces in the foreground. A classic article, if not a film.

Steve, if you click the link above for the Harry Shearer passage, it takes you to a copy of that article -- including the artwork, which strikes the appropriate tone given the nature of the film.

Actually that page is part of a site devoted to "The Day," including two versions of the script.

Cada mia! I've told people about this article for years. Your reserve of good karma just went up a couple of points.

I'm inclined to think if we wait long enough "Clown" will show up on Youtube in ten parts (as recently happened to the 1949 film of "The Great Gatsby," starring Alan Ladd in the title role and almost never seen since the '73 version was released) or on Google Video in one (as is the case with Otto Preminger's "Skidoo," never released on VHS or DVD). Just be patient and Jerry (or if not Jerry, some anonymous cyberbenefactor) will reward us.


read the script and see stills from the shoot here at subterranean cinema

Already pointed out, Noah. Already linked in the original post even.

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