The Day The Clown Cried,” Jerry Lewis’ lost film can be glimpsed on YouTube. YouTube is where “lost” films and video can once again see the light of day. That’s what happens when a billion users upload 100 hours of video each minute.

Lewis’ 1972 film wasn’t so much lost as it was tucked away in a vault. It has been one of the most sought after films by film buffs everywhere. Lewis, embarrassed about the quality of the film, vowed that it would never see the light of day. Over the course of the last four decades he has done everything in his power to keep it that way. Now, several clips are available in a Flemish documentary that has been uploaded on YouTube. Take a look before the clip is removed.

“The Day The Clown Cried” is about a clown who performs during the Second World War in Nazi death camps. The clips on YouTube show Lewis performing a bit with a cigarette with a candle, ducking during a mock air raid and juggling (sort of). For content producers the behind the scene takes are also informative. Lewis tells an off-camera interviewer that he likes to perform with music and sound effects, which will be re-recorded later, to get the right sensibility. He says that Charlie Chaplin once told him that he had never performed without a violinist on-set.

There have been several staged performances using the script of “The Day The Clown Cried.” Comedian Patton Oswalt participated in at least one performance. Whether the readings were legal is an open question.

 

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