Here’s the fabulous opening credit sequence to Jerry Lewis’s first non-Dean Martin solo effort ‘The Delicate Delinquent’ (1957), written and directed by Don McGuire. The crisp black and white photography, the stylized pre-‘West Side Story’ fusion of violence presented as abstract dance, and Lewis’ peak pantomime performance combine to make this one of (IMHO) the best and freshest of all opening sequences. In terms of the timeline of the then-popular teen delinquent genre, this comes on the heels of ‘Blackboard Jungle’ (1955), ‘Rebel Without A Cause’ (1955), ‘Crime In The Streets’ (1956) and some AIP Arkoff/Nicholson offerings like ‘Dragstrip Girl’ (1956), ‘Motorcycle Gang’ (1957) etc. Lewis was wise enough to put himself dead center in the cultural zeitgeist for his first non-Dino movie and was instantly launched on his own soaring trajectory at Paramount, which would last fully ten years (the first six producing the best work). Dino’s first non-Jerry outing, alas, was the dud ‘Ten Thousand Bedrooms’ (1957) and it took a re-making of him as a ‘serious’ actor in ‘The Young Lions’ (1958), ‘Some Came Running’ (1959) and ‘Rio Bravo’ (1959) to prove that, sans Jerry, Dino was still a star. Ten years later, of course, Jerry was a leaking balloon while Dean had the number one variety show on network television. From there it’s only another few years until Sinatra reunites them (to Jerry’s obvious discomfort) on the 1976 MDA telethon. But that’s another story for another day…


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3 Responses

  1. Don’t forget to mention perennial JD great Dick Bakalyan as one of the hoods. Also this scene was choreographed by Nick Castle.

  2. As I recall the movie was set to be a Martin and Lewis project and then the break up happened and they just stuck Darren McGavin in there to replace Dean

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