The Delinquents (1957)

“The Hoods of Tomorrow! The Gun-Molls of the Future!” Notable as the directorial debut of Robert Altman and the first starring role of Tom “Billy Jack” Laughlin (billed here as “Tommy Laughlin”), this low-budget but entertaining little flick was filmed in Kansas City, Missouri and clocks in with a running time of just 72 minutes. Laughlin portrays teenager “Scotty White,” who gets involved with a juvenile gang led by “Cholly” (Peter Miller) after the parents of his girlfriend “Janice Wilson” (Rosemary Howard) forbid him to see her anymore. Highlights include the gang raising hell after getting kicked out of the nightclub, the brawl at the drive-in, the wild party at the abandoned mansion, the gang forcing Scotty to guzzle an entire bottle of whisky, a drunk Scotty staggering aimlessly around the gas station after the gang robs the place and abandons him and, of course, the notorious fight between Scotty and Cholly in the kitchen. Look for Richard Bakalyan (The Cool and the Crazy) as a delinquent named “Eddy.” The beginning and ending of The Delinquents feature some cheesy narration such as “Citizens everywhere must work against delinquency, just as they work against cancer, cerebral palsy or any other crippling disease.” Altman, who filmed The Delinquents in three weeks at a cost of approximately $63,000, later described Laughlin as “an unbelievable pain in the ass” with a James Dean complex. Alfred Hitchcock was reportedly impressed with the film and invited Altman to direct a couple episodes of his TV series, Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu