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die hard is a xmas movie | by maryann johanson

what “missing” film would you most like to see, and why?

Have you heard of Jerry Lewis’s notorious early 70s film The Day the Clown Cried? It was completed but never released, because apparently Lewis — who both starred and directed — utterly failed to pull off the tale of a circus clown in Nazi Germany who is thrown into a concentration camp and, oh yes, befriends doomed children. Actor Harry Shearer saw a rough cut of the film a few years later and likened it to “a painting on black velvet of Auschwitz.” In spite of its reputed awfulness — or, more likely, because of it — film geeks have been desperate for a peek at this movie. And this weekend, via Justin Bozung of Mondo Film + Podcast, a bit of video of the production surfaced:

Bozung also has a fantastic post detailing the production of what he deems “the holy grail of unreleased films.”

By pure coincidence, this weekend reader Hank wrote me to suggest this question:

What “missing” film would you most like to see, and why?

The incident that sparked this was a discussion with a friend, who would really like to see the lost, Tod Browning, “London After Midnight.” Trying to think of a lost film I felt similarly about, I had the realization that the film I most wanted to see was one that didn’t actually happen. I wish the producers had let Boris Karloff appear as Jonathan Brewster in the film version of “Arsenic and Old Lace.”

What “missing” film would you most like to see, and why?

The strictest sense of this question might be too obscure for even many people who consider themselves serious film fans. I certainly have next to no knowledge about movies that might have been made but never were. So we’ll interpret the question very loosely, to encompass “movies that were planned or discussed but never made” and “movies that were made but that we can no longer see” (either because they were lost or never released at all) and “completely imaginary movies from whatever source” such as movies within movies or the one that will be my choice: Blue Harvest, which was never a movie at all but simply a diversionary tactic when George Lucas was filming Return of the Jedi. I remember the fake tagline as being “the ultimate in horror,” but Wikipedia tells me it was “horror beyond imagination.” I dunno: I can imagine quite a bit. I’d still like to see where that mysterious and evocative title would take us.

Your turn…

(If you have a suggestion for a Question, feel free to email me.)


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