Documentary about concentration camp movie Jerry Lewis: Courtesy of the SS

It is one of the great mysteries of film history: in 1972, the comedian Jerry Lewis turned a KZ tragicomedy – which was never shown. The ARD documentary “The Clown“, the mystery is approaching.

“Where’s the comedy, if one carries 65 children into the gas chamber?” Jerry Lewis talks in rage, and it sounds as if he were angry above all about themselves. It’s about a film project he has broken down over 40 years ago: the Holocaust tragicomedy “The Day The Clown Cried”, in which he plays a German clown, accompanying a group of children to their deaths.

Lewis had directed in 1972 also the project, Sweden he built to a concentration camp, in finding actors on the ground, he asked for help Ingmar Bergman, stately four months shooting were scheduled. But the work was never quite finished, it is one of the great mythical lost movies. In the library of Congress research library should store a copy, but she may be shown at the earliest by 2025 due to legal issues. In an extensive search, the NDR filmmaker Eric Friedler is now investigated the reasons for the failure of the mammoth project. Was it the circumstances – or is it on the doubts of Jerry Lewis himself?