The Delicate Delinquent (1957)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Jerry Lewis' first solo effort was also his first headlong plunge into pathos. The Delicate Delinquent stars Jerry as mixed-up teenaged janitor Sidney Pythias, a nice kid on the verge of throwing in with a not-so-nice street gang. Sensing potential in Sidney, police officer Mike Damon (Darren McGavin, in role originally intended for Lewis' ex-partner Dean Martin) takes the boy under his wing. To prove that Sidney can be weaned away from bad influences, Mike arranges for the boy to become a rookie cop, with fitfully hilarious results (the best scene, involving a monolingual Japanese gentleman, is also the most politically incorrect). Martha Hyer costars as an idealistic social worker with whom Mike (and briefly, Sidney) falls in love. The film's tenuous balance between juvenile-delinquent drama and slapstick comedy is never more pronounced than in the opening scene, wherein the clumsy Sidney, carrying a bulky garbage can, stumbles into the middle of a gang rumble. Though not Jerry Lewis' best film, Delicate Delinquent was a hit, proving he could carry a picture himself; as a bonus, Jerry gets to sing the significantly titled ditty "By Myself".
Classics , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Paramount Pictures

Watch it now


Jerry Lewis
as Sidney L. Pythias
Darren McGavin
as Mike Damon
Martha Hyer
as Martha Henshaw
Horace MacMahon
as Capt. Riley
Mary Webster
as Patricia
Milton Frome
as Mr. Herman
Rocky Marciano
as Himself
Emory Parnell
as Sgt. Levitch
Dave Willock
as Cadet Goerner
Michael Ross
as Police Sergeant
Don Megowan
as Policeman
Irene Winston
as Pregnant Woman
Teru Shimada
as Togo's Japanese Interpreter
Kazuo Togo
as Lt. Hiko
Don McGuire
as Policeman
Horace McMahon
as Capt. Riley
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Delicate Delinquent

All Critics (3)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 24, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Goes into the tank when it sinks into pathos.

Full Review… | July 21, 2007
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | January 13, 2006

No excerpt available.

January 13, 2006

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | January 13, 2006

Audience Reviews for The Delicate Delinquent

The plot doesn't make much sense since Jerry really isn't a juvenile delinquent but the police still try and "save/correct" him. Also, after watching this I realized that Jerry Lewis used the same gags over and over in all of his movies (talking like a woman, directing a musical group (in this case the synthesizer), the same hand gestures in 'funny' ways, etc.) - sorry, but doesn't speak for much originality.

Nick Krolikowski
Nick Krolikowski

I never thought I would ever give a Jerry Lewis movie a rating this high. I guess I am feeling a bit French today. It is by all means not great, but it is among his best and has a lot more substance than his usual shenanigans. Having a good cast is also a plus. Don't get me wrong, I still can't stand Jerry Lewis.

James Higgins
James Higgins

An unusual take on the 1950s teen gang scene, though it's disappointing in the laugh quantity department. Still, Sidney's initiation into the force is truly funny. Would make a curious double bill with "Rebel Without a Cause."


Discussion Forum

Discuss The Delicate Delinquent on our Movie forum!

News & Features