Trivia / The Day the Clown Cried


  • California Doubling: It was filmed in Stockholm.
  • Creator Backlash: It wasn't a good idea to ask Jerry Lewis about this film. However, while reporters were warned in advance not to mention it to him, he still had the rough print and said in his autobiography he planned to finish it and release it some day, but, as he got older, he decided that it was a bad idea.
  • Development Hell: A rare example of a work actually being fully completed, but not being able to be released due to legal problems. A copy of the movie is currently held by the Library of Congress, but due to an agreement with Lewis cannot be screened until August 2025.
  • Doing It for the Art: Jerry Lewis poured $2 million of his own money into the film.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Jerry Lewis lost forty pounds for the film, which he achieved by eating nothing but grapefruit for six weeks.
  • Missing Episode: The only such film in Lewis' catalogue. It's not so much lost as locked away, never to be seen for decades.
  • Old Shame: Although Jerry Lewis was for a long time a passionate champion of the project, he soured on it over time; for a long time he refused to even discuss it, and in interviews late in life he admitted he thought it was terrible and had kept it hidden out of embarrassment. The agreement to release it it 2025 was noted by many to be likely based on how he'd probably be dead by then and unable to go through any personal embarrassment from people actually seeing it, and indeed he died eight years short of the release.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: Many people believe that the film was unreleased due to poor taste but it was actually due to copyright issues over the script. In fact, Jerry Lewis was technically not supposed to finish it but he did, resulting in the movie being completed but rarely seen.
  • Troubled Production: In addition to the legal issues that prevented its release, film equipment was either lost or delivered late, Jerry Lewis had several emotional breakdowns and the producer not only ran out of money before completing the film, but his option to produce the film expired before filming began, leaving Lewis to spend his own money on the film.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • In the original script by Joan O'Brien and Charles Denton, Helmut Doork was named "Karl Shmidt", who was an arrogant, self-centered clown who wanted to use his wife to bribe a ringmaster into giving him a better gig, with the story about his redemption. The story, however, ended up altered by Jerry Lewis into its current form.
    • Milton Berle, Dick Van Dyke, and Bobby Darin were all interested for the project before Lewis. At one point in the mid 1960s, Alec Guinness was attached to star and produce.
    • Jeanne Moreau was considered for Anna Doork.
    • In the early 90's, there were talks of a remake starring Robin Williams that never came into fruition.

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