Helmut Doork, a once great and famous clown, is fired from the circus. Getting drunk at a local bar, he pokes fun at Hitler in front of some Gestapo agents, who arrest and send him to a prison camp. Helmut angers his fellow prisoners by refusing to perform for them, wanting to preserve his legend. As times passes, Jews are brought into the camp, with fraternizing between them and the other prisoners strictly prohibited. Eventually, Helmut is forced by the others to perform or be beaten. His act bombs and he leaves the barracks depressed, trying the routine out again alone in the prison yard. He hears laughter and sees a group of Jewish children watching him through a fence. Happy to be appreciated again, he makes a makeshift clown suit and begins to regularly perform. His audience grows, but a new prison Commandant orders Helmut to stop. When he refuses and continues to perform, he's beaten and thrown in solitary confinement. But the Nazis soon come up with a use for Helmut, keeping ...
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Did You Know?
had the only copy locked in a private vault where he previously vowed to keep it from ever being viewed again. However according to an edition of the L.A. Times on August 6, 2015 he allowed this film along with some of his other movies to be preserved at the Library of Congress, but part of the deal is that the film would not be screened there until 2024 (as it turned out, this would make its first showing several years after Lewis' death in 2017). The Library of Congress also released a statement that they hadn't decided their specific screening plans, but they would neither share the film for viewing with other government facilities or release it for any kind of home media. See more