Cinephiles love to discuss films by famous directors that were planned but never made.
But if there’s one area of cinematic speculation even more tantalising it is the subject of buried films – movies that were shot, more or less, and maybe even released before being locked away by their makers, their studio or because of lawsuits.
Jerry Lewis’ The Day the Clown Cried was the American comedian’s first foray into dramatic filmmaking in 1972.
He was to play the role of Helmut Doork, a German clown imprisoned in a concentration camp for political reasons during World War II, who performs for Jewish children before they’re led off to the gas chambers.
Upon its completion Lewis decided it should never be released. “In terms of that film, I was embarrassed,” he said. “I was ashamed of the work, and I was grateful that I had the power to contain it at all, and never let anyone see it. It was bad, bad, bad.”