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Delinquent Parents (1938)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 15 July 1938 (USA)
A woman is forced to keep her marriage and past indiscretions a secret from those she loves.


Nick Grinde


Nicholas T. Barrows (original screenplay) (as Nick Barrows), Robert St. Claire (original screenplay)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Doris Weston ... Carol Wharton Caldwell
Maurice Murphy ... Bruce Jefferson
Helen MacKellar ... Judge Edith Ellis
Terry Walker ... Cousin Betty
Richard Tucker ... Harry Jefferson
Charlotte Treadway Charlotte Treadway ... Mrs. Harry Jefferson
Morgan Wallace ... Charles Wharton
Marjorie Reynolds ... Edythe Ellis
Theodore von Eltz ... Carson
Walter Young Walter Young ... Joseph Caldwell
Sibyl Harris Sibyl Harris ... Katherine Caldwell
Carlyle Moore Jr. ... Charles Wharton Jr.
Janet Young ... Mrs. Mihom
Byron Foulger ... Herbert Ellis
Virginia Brissac ... Mrs. Herbert Ellis


Edythe Ellis, a middle-class , small town girl is secretly married to Charles Wharton, handsome but the weak-willed son of the town mayor, on the eve of his enlistment in World War One. Before he can get away the Armistace is signed, but Charles is reluctant to make their marriage known, not willing to arouse the wrath of his snobbish parents. A speak-easy rendezvous, a few spirited prohibition-era drinks and the inevitable car crash sends Edythe to the hospital where her impending motherhood is discovered. His parents refuse to let Charles see Edythe, after learning she was not seriously hurt. Edythe's mother supports her daughter during her ordeal, but when the child, a girl, is born she insists that it be sent to an orphanage.Edythe, broken hearted, is made to consent to the arrangement. The child, Carol, is adopted by the Caldwells, a kindly couple who have no children of their own, and is brought up to believe she is their own. Carol celebrates her eighteenth birthday in blissful... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Picture You Will Never Forget... Modern Youth In Revolt! See more »


Crime | Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Carol's birthday, shown being entered in the ledger at the beginning of the film, is May 2, 1919. She is birth number 555. Her Certificate of Adoption is dated September 21, 1921. See more »


Once Around the Clock
Written by Lee Zahler and Carroll K. Cooper (as Carroll Cooper)
Performed by a dance troupe including Kay Marvis and Marge Champion (as Marjorie Bell)
See more »

User Reviews

Social Drama About Bad Parents
23 August 2015 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Delinquent Parents (1938)

** (out of 4)

Edith Ellis, a good but poor girl, is involved in a wreck where her rich boyfriend's parents demand that he stays away from her. It turns out Edith is pregnant but her mother demands that she give the baby up for adoption. Flash forward eighteen years and now Edith is a judge in a small town where her daughter Carol (Doris Weston), who doesn't know she's adopted, is another good girl. This all changes when she finds out that she's adopted.

DELINQUENT PARENTS is sold as an exploitation movie today but it's actually a fairly straight-forward and serious drama that takes a look at how some folks just consider themselves "above" others when in fact they're not. This film deals with several social issues including the rich getting away with certain behaviors but the real goal of this film is to show parents that their poor judgment can also effect the children they're trying to protect.

There's certainly nothing bad about this picture. It runs for less than a hour and director Nick Grinde actually does a nice job at keeping it entertaining. He certainly manages to keep it flowing at a nice pace and we're also given a couple good performances. I thought Weston was fine in her role as was Maurice Murphy and Helen MacKellar who plays the judge. Again, if you bought this picture expecting an exploitation movie then you're going to be disappointed because this isn't another REEFER MADNESS or SEX MADNESS.

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Release Date:

15 July 1938 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Progressive Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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