Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

One of the Most Famous Lost Films of All Time Shows Up on YouTube

Jerry Lewis The Day the Clown CriedYouTube’s billion users upload 100 hours of video to the site every minute, so it’s reasonable to assume that everything that’s ever been recorded is up there.

One thing you haven’t been able to find before, though, is anything from Jerry Lewis’s “The Day the Clown Cried.” That’s because the 1972 movie, starring Lewis as a clown who performs in Nazi death camps, has never seen the light of day.

Lewis’s intense embarrassment about the project, and his successful attempts to stifle its release, have made it famous among film and comedy buffs. Some of them, like Patton Oswalt, have periodically gotten together to stage (possibly illegal) readings from the movie’s script.*

All of which explains why news of this clip, which I picked up via Kurt Loder, via Entertainment Weekly’s Anthony Breznican, is a very big deal. There’s not a ton of actual film footage here, as it appears to be taken from a Dutch TV documentary. But it’s still something, which is more than nothing, which is what we’ve been able to see until now.

No idea whether Lewis and his camp will be able to get YouTube to take the clip down, but you should assume they will try. So watch while you can:

*I saw one and it was awesome.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik