Since 1972, all footage from Jerry Lewis‘ “The Day the Clown Cried” has remained under lock and key — for good reason.
Lewis’ film, which he wrote, directed and starred in centered on a clown who led Jewish children to their deaths during the Holocaust. Since filming, the legendary comedian has sworn repeatedly that the movie would never see the light of day.
In the film, which has grown into something of a cult-obsession for film buffs over the years, Lewis plays a downtrodden German circus clown named Helmut Doork, who finds himself arrested after drunkenly mocking Adolf Hitler and placed in a concentration camp while awaiting trial. He then boards a train headed to Auschwitz full of Jewish children, and, once there, he’s forced to perform for them as they’re led to the gas chambers, eventually joining them in the chamber in the final scene. Grim stuff, huh?
On Monday (Aug. 12), unearthed footage from a Flemish news program reveals Lewis in full costume and makeup as the titular clown, making a paper airplane, giving the world its first look at the character Lewis has tried to hard to keep hidden.
Take a look at the clip below, but be warned, the narration is not in English: