Hey, Game of Thrones/Community/True Blood/Firefly fans: how’d you like to see a major motion picture starring Peter Dinklage, Danny Pudi, Ryan Kwanten, and Summer Glau? So would we! Would you be surprised to learn that such a motion picture not only exists, but has been sitting on a shelf for two years? So would we! Such is the strange tale of The Knights of Badassdom, director Joe Lynch’s horror comedy that’s been the subject of much discussion and confusion this week. Badassdom, which was previewed at the San Diego Comic-Con clear back in 2011, is hardly the first film that sounded like a good bet, only to sputter in post-production and after due to unforeseen difficulties in financing, distribution, or rights. After the jump, we’ll take a look at ten movies that you’d think you would have heard of, and be able to see, based on the personnel involved — but you can’t, for all sorts of strange reasons.
The Day the Clown Cried
Perhaps the most famous (and infamous) of unreleased star vehicles, this 1972 film was a passion project for Jerry Lewis, who directed and starred as a WWII-era German circus clown forced to entertain children at a concentration camp. But you haven’t seen it because it’s bad — well, not only because it’s bad, anyway. Lewis ran out of funds before the film was completed, and then found himself locked in ongoing litigation with screenwriter Joan O’Brien over rights and payment. Throughout those difficulties, Lewis held out hope that he would finish the film and show it to the world, envisioning it as his dramatic breakthrough, the film that would land him an acting Oscar. But those who’ve seen it — most famously actor/writer Harry Shearer of Spinal Tap and Simpsons fame — say it’s an astonishing failure, and Lewis would probably be best advised to keep the film where it’s been for forty years: safely locked up in his vault.