Worst Movie Ever Made? Embarrassingly Bad Jerry Lewis Footage Creates Buzz Online — See It Here

Aug 12, 2013  •  Post A Comment

Clips from a lost movie that some media outlets are speculating might be the worst movie ever made are creating some excitement online — along with potential embarrassment for veteran comedian Jerry Lewis.

The latest clip to surface is a rough seven-minute "making of" from the 1972 movie, "The Day the Clown Cried," which Lewis starred in, co-wrote and directed.

Lewis himself was unhappy with the work, NBC News reports. "The film was not made as a comedy; it was to have been Lewis’ first foray into serious drama. But after test screenings went terribly wrong, Lewis (who told Dick Cavett in 1973 that he’d planned to release it at the Cannes Film Festival) pulled the film," the story reports.

Lewis, now 87, was asked about the movie this year at Cannes, and reportedly said: "It was all bad and it was bad because I lost the magic. You will never see it. No one will ever see it, because I am embarrassed at the poor work."

In the movie, "Lewis plays a circus performer who is taken by the Nazis after making fun of Hitler. In the concentration camp where he’s sent, he amuses the children with his routine, and eventually walks with them into a gas chamber. The last scene involves Lewis’ clown (Helmut Doork) and the children laughing while the gas surrounds them," NBC News reports.

The report adds: "’The Day the Clown Cried’ is perhaps the most infamous film that was never released, and if Lewis has his way, it will never see the light of day. But on Saturday, YouTube user Unclesporkums uploaded perhaps the longest clip (it’s a 7-minute ‘Making of Footage’ collection of clips) to ever publicly surface of the film in the past 41 years, which introduces the movie mistake to a whole new generation."

The report notes that one of the few people to have seen the movie since Lewis shelved it is comedian Harry Shearer, known for his voice work on "The Simpsons." Shearer, who reportedly saw a rough cut back in the 1970s, talked about it in an interview with Spy magazine in 1992.

Shearer is quoted as saying: "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."

Here’s the clip:


  1. Lewis has always been enamored of Chaplin, so this may have been his stillborn homage to Chaplin’s film Limelight.

  2. Why would it be an embarrassment to Lewis when he himself says the movie is horrible?

  3. Despite everything I’ve always heard, it just can’t be as bad as its always been made out to be. I’m sure it’s not CITIZEN KANE but I have to think that there’s got to be some way to salvage this thing. Also, audiences are different now and what was seen as just awful back then would probably be seen as ‘wonderfully awful’ these days, creating a cult film that would rival ROCKY HORROR. I’m willing to bet that when Lewis finally dies, this thing is going to escape into the wild and become one of the biggest films he ever made.
    Or not. We’ll just have to wait and see but as far as cinematic trainwrecks go, I want to see this one more than any other one I can think of.

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