The Delicate Delinquent


1h 40m 1957

Brief Synopsis

Sidney Pythias (Jerry Lewis) is the a bumbling janitor picked up by cop Darren McGavin as a teenage gang member worth saving from delinquency. With McGavin's help, Sidney works his way through the Police Academy to become a cop too.

Film Details

Also Known As
Damon and Pythias, The Delinquent
Release Date
Jul 1957
Premiere Information
New York opening: 3 Jul 1957
Production Company
York Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 40m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

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 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.

Film Details

Also Known As
Damon and Pythias, The Delinquent
Release Date
Jul 1957
Premiere Information
New York opening: 3 Jul 1957
Production Company
York Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 40m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Articles

Frank Gorshin (1933-2005)


Frank Gorshin, a skilled comedian, impressionist and character actor who will forever be indentified with his role as "The Riddler" on the cult series from the '60s Batman lost his battle with lung cancer on May 17 at the Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California. He was 72.

He was born on April 5, 1933, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania into a family of modest means, his father was a railroad worker and mother a homemaker. His childhood impressions of Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney paid off when he won a local talent contest at 17, and that led to his first gig at 17 at a the prize was a one week engagement at Jackie Heller's Carousel night club, Pittsburgh's hottest downtown spot in the day. The taste was there, and after high school Frank enrolled in the Carnegie-Mellon Tech School of Drama did hone his craft.

His career was interrupted briefly when he entered the US Army in 1953. He spent two years in Special Services as an entertainer. Once he got out, Frank tried his luck in Hollywood. He made his film debut in a forgettable William Holden vehicle The Proud and Profane, but his fortunes picked up soon when he and when he hooked up with American Internation Pictures (AIP). With his charasmatic sneer and cocky bravado that belied his slender, 5' 7" frame, Frank made a great punk villian in a series of entertaining "drive-in" fare: Hot Rod Girl (1956), Dragstrip Girl, Invasion of the Saucer Men, and of course the classic Portland Expose (all 1957).

By the '60s, he graduated to supporting roles in bigger Hollywood fare: Where the Boys Are, Bells Are Ringing (both 1960), Ring of Fire, and his biggest tole to date, that of Iggy the bank robber in Disney's hugely popular That Darn Cat (1965). Better still, Frank found some parts on television: Naked City, Combat!, The Untouchables, and this would be the medium where he found his greatest success. Little did he realize that when his skeletal physique donned those green nylon tights and cackled his high pitch laugh that Frank Gorshin would be forever identified as "the Riddler," one of Batman's main nemisis. For two years (1966-68), he was a semi-regular on the show and it brought him deserved national attention.

By the '70s, Frank made his Broadway debut, as the star of Jimmy, a musical based on the life of former New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker. He spent the next two decades alternating between the stage, where he appeared regularly in national touring productions of such popular shows as: Promises, Promises, Prisoner of Second Street, and Guys and Dolls; and nightclub work in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

He recently found himself in demand for character roles on televison: Murder, She Wrote, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and film: Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys (1995), and the quirky comedy Man of the Century (1999). Yet his biggest triumph was his two year stint (2002-2004) as George Burns in the Broadway smash, Say Goodnight Gracie. It ran for 364 performances and he received critical raves from even the toughest New York theater critics, proving undoubtly that he was a performer for all mediums. He is survived by his wife Christina; a son, Mitchell; grandson Brandon and sister Dottie.

by Michael T. Toole
Frank Gorshin (1933-2005)

Frank Gorshin (1933-2005)

Frank Gorshin, a skilled comedian, impressionist and character actor who will forever be indentified with his role as "The Riddler" on the cult series from the '60s Batman lost his battle with lung cancer on May 17 at the Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California. He was 72. He was born on April 5, 1933, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania into a family of modest means, his father was a railroad worker and mother a homemaker. His childhood impressions of Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney paid off when he won a local talent contest at 17, and that led to his first gig at 17 at a the prize was a one week engagement at Jackie Heller's Carousel night club, Pittsburgh's hottest downtown spot in the day. The taste was there, and after high school Frank enrolled in the Carnegie-Mellon Tech School of Drama did hone his craft. His career was interrupted briefly when he entered the US Army in 1953. He spent two years in Special Services as an entertainer. Once he got out, Frank tried his luck in Hollywood. He made his film debut in a forgettable William Holden vehicle The Proud and Profane, but his fortunes picked up soon when he and when he hooked up with American Internation Pictures (AIP). With his charasmatic sneer and cocky bravado that belied his slender, 5' 7" frame, Frank made a great punk villian in a series of entertaining "drive-in" fare: Hot Rod Girl (1956), Dragstrip Girl, Invasion of the Saucer Men, and of course the classic Portland Expose (all 1957). By the '60s, he graduated to supporting roles in bigger Hollywood fare: Where the Boys Are, Bells Are Ringing (both 1960), Ring of Fire, and his biggest tole to date, that of Iggy the bank robber in Disney's hugely popular That Darn Cat (1965). Better still, Frank found some parts on television: Naked City, Combat!, The Untouchables, and this would be the medium where he found his greatest success. Little did he realize that when his skeletal physique donned those green nylon tights and cackled his high pitch laugh that Frank Gorshin would be forever identified as "the Riddler," one of Batman's main nemisis. For two years (1966-68), he was a semi-regular on the show and it brought him deserved national attention. By the '70s, Frank made his Broadway debut, as the star of Jimmy, a musical based on the life of former New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker. He spent the next two decades alternating between the stage, where he appeared regularly in national touring productions of such popular shows as: Promises, Promises, Prisoner of Second Street, and Guys and Dolls; and nightclub work in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. He recently found himself in demand for character roles on televison: Murder, She Wrote, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and film: Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys (1995), and the quirky comedy Man of the Century (1999). Yet his biggest triumph was his two year stint (2002-2004) as George Burns in the Broadway smash, Say Goodnight Gracie. It ran for 364 performances and he received critical raves from even the toughest New York theater critics, proving undoubtly that he was a performer for all mediums. He is survived by his wife Christina; a son, Mitchell; grandson Brandon and sister Dottie. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

After _Hollywod or Bust (1956)_ , this was to have been the next film for 'Jerry Lewis' and 'Dean Martin' . Martin did not want to be seen on screen in a police uniform. The partnership of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis soon ended. Thus, The Delicate Delinquent (1957) became Jerry Lewis' first solo motion picture. The part that Dean Martin refused to play was given to Darren McGavin.

Notes

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, 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.
       Hollywood Reporter 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 Hollywood Reporter 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 Hollywood Reporter, 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 Hollywood Reporter 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.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer July 1957

Released in United States on Video September 10, 1990

This was Lewis' first film without Dean Martin.

Jerry Lewis directed the scene with Don McGuire as a cop.

VistaVision

Released in United States Summer July 1957

Released in United States on Video September 10, 1990