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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Delicate Delinquent (1957)

After he is mistakenly arrested as a juvenile delinquent, a janitor (Jerry Lewis) is taken under the wing of a cop (Darren McGavin) who has hopes of "rehabilitating" him. This was to have been the 17th film for the comedy duo of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis but by the time it was ready to be filmed, they had split. Martin was replaced by Darren McGavin. I don't know how much of Martin's role was re-written for DELINQUENT because this is clearly a vehicle for Jerry Lewis. As such, it provides Lewis with an opportunity to focus on what he does well and there are many funny moments, both large (his wrestling with a Japanese sumo champion) and subtle (his reluctant "running" from the police). The writer Don McGuire directs from his own screenplay and the best that can be said of the direction is that he stays out of Lewis's way. Not as inspired as his Frank Tashlin vehicles or the films he directed himself but Lewis fans will have a good time. There's a nice jazz infused underscore by Buddy Bregman. With Martha Hyer (wasted as McGavin's romantic interest), Horace McMahon, Frank Gorshin, Mary Webster and Robert Ivers.

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