The Delicate Delinquent (1957)

100-101 mins | Comedy-drama | July 1957

Directors:

Don McGuire, Jerry Lewis

Writer:

Don McGuire

Producer:

Jerry Lewis

Cinematographer:

Haskell Boggs

Editor:

Howard Smith

Production Designers:

Hal Pereira, Earl Hedrick

Production Company:

York Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

The working titles of the film were Damon and Pythias and The Delinquent . Although Jerry Lewis' character, "Sidney L. Pythias," is referred to as a juvenile delinquent in the picture, it is clearly stated within the film that he is over twenty-one years old and a high school graduate.
       The Delicate Delinquent marked Lewis' first film after his breakup with screen partner Dean Martin. According to modern sources, Lewis came up with the original story for The Delicate Delinquent and hired Don McGuire, who had previously written the screenplay for the 1954 Martin and Lewis film Three Ring Circus (see below), as well as the adaptation for their 1956 release Artists and Models (see above), to write the screenplay. Although various sources describing the events leading up to Lewis and Martin’s breakup disagree in specifics, they generally agree that Martin was uninterested in playing a uniformed policeman, and shortly after, Martin and Lewis decided to officially dissolve their act. Their last performance as a team was a thirteen-day engagement at The Copacabana nightclub in New York City, on the tenth anniversary of their first performance.
       HR news items mistakenly state that the film was shot on location in New York City; although New York was the film's setting, The Delicate Delinquent was filmed at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, CA. Actress Dolores Michaels is listed in the cast in early HR production charts, but it is highly doubtful that she appeared in the film. Alex Nicol was considered for a co-starring role in the picture, according to HR , ... More Less

The working titles of the film were Damon and Pythias and The Delinquent . Although Jerry Lewis' character, "Sidney L. Pythias," is referred to as a juvenile delinquent in the picture, it is clearly stated within the film that he is over twenty-one years old and a high school graduate.
       The Delicate Delinquent marked Lewis' first film after his breakup with screen partner Dean Martin. According to modern sources, Lewis came up with the original story for The Delicate Delinquent and hired Don McGuire, who had previously written the screenplay for the 1954 Martin and Lewis film Three Ring Circus (see below), as well as the adaptation for their 1956 release Artists and Models (see above), to write the screenplay. Although various sources describing the events leading up to Lewis and Martin’s breakup disagree in specifics, they generally agree that Martin was uninterested in playing a uniformed policeman, and shortly after, Martin and Lewis decided to officially dissolve their act. Their last performance as a team was a thirteen-day engagement at The Copacabana nightclub in New York City, on the tenth anniversary of their first performance.
       HR news items mistakenly state that the film was shot on location in New York City; although New York was the film's setting, The Delicate Delinquent was filmed at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, CA. Actress Dolores Michaels is listed in the cast in early HR production charts, but it is highly doubtful that she appeared in the film. Alex Nicol was considered for a co-starring role in the picture, according to HR , probably that of "Mike Damon," the part played by Darren McGavin. The Delicate Delinquent marked the feature film debuts of actor Robert Ivers and former heavyweight boxing champion Rocky Marciano. As noted in HR news items, although he only received screen credit as the producer and star, Lewis staged a scene in which Marciano and director-writer McGuire appeared. The picture marked Lewis' debut as a feature film producer. According to modern sources, the film was produced for only $400,000, yet grossed over $7,000,000. In 1962, Paramount re-released The Delicate Delinquent along with another 1957 Lewis film, The Sad Sack . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Jun 1957.
---
Daily Variety
28 May 57
p. 3.
Film Daily
6 Jun 57
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jul 56
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Aug 56
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Aug 1956.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Sep 56
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Sep 56
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Oct 56
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Oct 56
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
28 May 57
p. 4.
Motion Picture Daily
31 May 1957.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
1 Jun 57
p. 401.
New York Times
4 Jul 57
p. 16.
New York Times
23 Mar 1963.
---
Variety
29 May 57
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
Men's ward
MUSIC
Mus scored by
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
DANCE
Mus number staged by
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hair style supv
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to the prod
Unit prod mgr
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Old Folks at Home" by Stephen Foster.
SONGS
"By Myself," music by Arthur Schwartz, lyrics by Howard Dietz.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Damon and Pythias
The Delinquent
Release Date:
July 1957
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 3 July 1957
Production Date:
5 September--12 October 1956
Copyright Claimant:
York Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
17 July 1957
Copyright Number:
LP9152
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
VistaVision Motion Picture High-Fidelity
Duration(in mins):
100-101
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18431
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When a gang fight breaks out in the alleyway next to his lower-class New York apartment building, Sidney Pythias, a well-meaning apprentice janitor, is mistakenly arrested, along with a group of juvenile delinquents that includes Monk, Artie and Harry. The arresting officer, Mike Damon, is chastised by Capt. Riley, his new supervisor, who points out that Mike's efforts to reform teenage delinquents has only landed Riley in the hospital. In turn, Mike, a decorated policeman, argues that he was once a delinquent himself who was saved from a life of crime by a policeman, and he is merely trying to follow that example. Riley then gives Mike one month to reform at least one juvenile delinquent or be transferred out of the precinct. Seeing a scared and grateful Sidney groveling at a police sergeant's feet upon his release, Mike decides to make the young janitor his project. When Mike tries to make friends with Sidney, however, the lonely janitor questions the policeman's motives, but accepts his dinner invitation when Mike tells him he has a twenty-one inch television. Back at the police station, Riley orders Mike to work with Martha Henshaw, a city council aide sent to their precinct to investigate the juvenile crime problem. When Martha asks to meet a juvenile delinquent, Mike tells the wealthy socialite to go out and find one herself, and, in turn, Martha finds Sidney. When the three meet at the policeman's apartment for dinner, Mike and Martha agree to pool their efforts to help the young man, but Sidney quickly leaves when the two reformers begin fighting with each other. Later, back at his apartment, Sidney ... +


When a gang fight breaks out in the alleyway next to his lower-class New York apartment building, Sidney Pythias, a well-meaning apprentice janitor, is mistakenly arrested, along with a group of juvenile delinquents that includes Monk, Artie and Harry. The arresting officer, Mike Damon, is chastised by Capt. Riley, his new supervisor, who points out that Mike's efforts to reform teenage delinquents has only landed Riley in the hospital. In turn, Mike, a decorated policeman, argues that he was once a delinquent himself who was saved from a life of crime by a policeman, and he is merely trying to follow that example. Riley then gives Mike one month to reform at least one juvenile delinquent or be transferred out of the precinct. Seeing a scared and grateful Sidney groveling at a police sergeant's feet upon his release, Mike decides to make the young janitor his project. When Mike tries to make friends with Sidney, however, the lonely janitor questions the policeman's motives, but accepts his dinner invitation when Mike tells him he has a twenty-one inch television. Back at the police station, Riley orders Mike to work with Martha Henshaw, a city council aide sent to their precinct to investigate the juvenile crime problem. When Martha asks to meet a juvenile delinquent, Mike tells the wealthy socialite to go out and find one herself, and, in turn, Martha finds Sidney. When the three meet at the policeman's apartment for dinner, Mike and Martha agree to pool their efforts to help the young man, but Sidney quickly leaves when the two reformers begin fighting with each other. Later, back at his apartment, Sidney tells Mike that he is "a nothin'...but would sure like to be a somethin'." Trying to build up the young man's self-confidence, Mike assures Sidney that he can do anything he wants, but is shocked when the novice janitor tells him that he wants to be a policeman. Though he initially refuses Mike's request that he endorse Sidney's admission to the police academy, Riley relents after hearing Martha's glowing endorsement of Mike's handling of the bumbling Sidney. While helping Sidney fill out his application to the academy, Mike cannot stop talking or thinking about Martha, and when she arrives at Sidney's apartment to check up on the young man, Mike readily agrees to escort her home. The two soon begin seeing each other socially. Sidney's love life also takes a turn for the better when Patricia, an attractive young tenant in his building, reprimands him for not asking her out. Sidney tells the student nurse that he cannot date her until he makes something of himself. Although he struggles every step of the way through his police training, which includes judo and sumo wrestling lessons, Sidney makes it through the initial stages of the academy. Mike becomes so obsessed with helping Sidney, however, that Martha breaks up with him. Meanwhile, Sidney is visited by Monk and Artie, who try to talk him out of becoming a policeman. Though Monk tells Sidney that the world is against them, Sidney argues that there are a lot of decent people in the world and he is just trying to be one. On his first patrol, Sidney is assigned to walk a beat with Mike in his own neighborhood, and the trainee ends up delivering a baby. Later that evening, however, Sidney gets involved in a police scuffle with his old hoodlum friends, and Artie is shot by his gun. Monk later confesses that the gun fell out of Sidney's holster during the fight, and he accidentally shot Monk while trying to steal the weapon. Cleared of the shooting, Sidney finally receives Riley's full endorsement to join the force, and he rushes home to give Patricia the good news. Later, policeman Sidney L. Pythias meets with his old hoodlum friends and offers them the same encouragement to improve themselves that Mike offered him. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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