For fans of cinematic esoterica, Jerry Lewis’s The Day the Clown Cried is the unreleased movie holy grail. According to Harry Shearer—one of the few people to have seen a rough cut of the movie—the combination of Lewis’ immense egotism and tendency toward the maudlin with a story about the holocaust resulted in a movie that 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.”
On the other hand, French movie critic Jean-Michel Frodon said it’s an “interesting and important film” after screening it. We’ll (hopefully) be able to make our own determination in 2024, when the library of congress plans to allow people to screen the flick at their Audio Visual Conservation campus in Culpeper, Virginia. Set your calendar.