6 Controversial Films You Never Got to See
BBC rounds up Hollywood's buried tales
By Arden Dier, Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2014 10:00 AM CDT
Alfred Hitchcock   (Wikimedia Commons)

(Newser) – Ever hear about an upcoming movie that somehow disappears before its release—or perhaps shortly thereafter? Well, there's a good chance that flick got "buried," or made and then locked away, just like these controversial films rounded up by the BBC:

  1. The Day the Clown Cried: Of this movie about a clown who performs in a concentration camp, director and star Jerry Lewis said, "I was ashamed of the work ... and never let anyone see it. It was bad, bad, bad."
  2. Memory of the Camps: Alfred Hitchcock went into a week-long depression producing this documentary on Nazi death camps. It was scrapped for fear it would stir up too much anti-German sentiment, though it did eventually debut in 1984. You can watch it here.
  3. The Brave: Johnny Depp's first attempt in the director's chair, a modern-day Western, was bashed by critics at Cannes in 1997. Depp then prevented its US release and hasn't directed since.
  4. Nailed: It appears the man who brought you American Hustle wasn't as happy with this political satire about a congressman who exploits a woman's sexual urges caused by a nail to the head. The film is done, but David O. Russell says there are no plans to release it.
  5. Who Killed Bambi?: Think A Hard Day's Night but with the Sex Pistols. It went into production in the 1970s, but the heads at 20th Century Fox deemed it not worth a release.
  6. Song of the South: This Disney flick based on African-American folktales took flak from the NAACP for giving "the impression of an idyllic master-slave relationship." It was seen in some cinemas, but never released to home video, though its song, "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah," is still popular.
Click for the full list, or check out 5 of the best films that never even got made.

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Showing 3 of 26 comments
Crazy Horse
May 5, 2014 1:27 PM CDT
I watched both Song of the South and Birth of a Nation in film class in college. We all know that our country has a sullied legacy vis-a-vis slavery, segregation and the general treatment of blacks by the white establishment. But it doesn't mean that works of art from a bygone era still don't have some cultural, if not historical relevance. I'm thinking specifically of Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn novels, two books that regularly find themselves on banned books lists.
messy57
May 4, 2014 1:07 PM CDT
As to Song of the South , the guy who played Uncle Remus, who BTW WASN'T a slave, was given a segregated "best acting performance by a negro" Oscar in 1947. Jerry Lewis starred in the film version of Kurt Vonnegot's "Slapstick" and that never got released either except for a couple of showings on HBO when it first started out.
atunam
May 3, 2014 10:21 PM CDT
I am surprised to see Song of the South on this list as I have often seen it in various venues. I assumed it was common. I heard of Jerry Lewis' movie when it was being made and was intrigued. I am given to understand that some were offended, however, and that this touched Jerry Lewis who was sensitive to their sensibilities.