The Delinquents (1989 film)

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The Delinquents
Delinquents TheDVD.jpg
DVD cover
Directed by Chris Thomson
Produced by Alex Cutler
Michael Wilcox
Written by Clayton Frohman
Mac Gudgeon
Based on novel by Criena Rohan
Starring Kylie Minogue
Charlie Schlatter
Music by Miles Goodman
Cinematography Andrew Lesnie
Edited by John Scott
Silver Lining Entertainment
Distributed by Village Roadshow
Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • 21 December 1989 (1989-12-21) (Australia)
  • 26 December 1989 (1989-12-26) (UK)
  • 1 June 1990 (1990-06-01) (Finland, Sweden)
  • 8 June 1990 (1990-06-08) (Netherlands)
  • 12 July 1990 (1990-07-12) (West Germany)
Running time 101 minutes
Country Australia
Language English
Budget AU $9 million[1]
Box office AU $3,370,650

The Delinquents is a 1989 Australian film directed by Chris Thomson. It starred Kylie Minogue and Charlie Schlatter as the main characters Lola and Brownie, and was filmed in Brisbane, Maryborough and Bundaberg, Queensland. The film is based on the book of the same name.

The Delinquents was released in Australia on 21 December 1989 and received mixed reviews from most movie critics. The film had grossed $3,370,650 at the box office in Australia,[2] equivalent to $5,864,931 in 2009 dollars. A soundtrack was also released.


The film was adapted from the novel of the same name by author Criena Rohan. Lola and Brownie are teenagers in the Australian town of Bundaberg during the 1950s. They fall in love, but because of their age must fight their parents and welfare, who try to keep them apart. Lola falls pregnant and the couple runs away so they can keep their baby and live happily ever after. Lola's mother and the police find them and take Lola home, where her mother insists on an abortion for Lola. Brownie joins the crew of a ship so he can sail the coast and look for Lola. Meanwhile, Lola moves to Melbourne, becomes a waitress ands bleaches her hair. Eventually Brownie finds her working in the pub and takes her on board the ship. Lola is taken away by her mother and welfare to live with a caretaker in the country side, until she comes of age.

When a former charge visits for lunch, Lola realises that her caretaker has thrown all Brownie's letters in the bin. Lola and the caretaker fight, and Lola runs away.

Finding her mother drunk and unsympathetic, Lola is enrolled into an all-girls school. The day after a riot started by the girls, Lola meets up with Brownie and runs away with him. They move in together and meet another young couple named Lyle and Mavis. They have one daughter and Mavis is heavily pregnant with their second child. The birth does not go well and both Mavis and the baby die.

Although Lola and Brownie offer to adopt Mavis' surviving daughter, they are unable to as they are too young and unmarried. Lyle leaves the child with Lola to give to welfare as the child will be placed in foster care and Lyle is unable to bear the thought of giving up his only child. After the child has been taken, Lola and Brownie are reunited once more and they prepare to wed. The film ends with their wedding with their families in attendance.


Original novel[edit]

The novel was published in 1962. It had been written in a TB hospital.[4]

The novel was submitted for the Miles Franklin Award.[5]

Rohan died in 1963, having only published one other book in her lifetime.

The novel was republished in 1986.[6]


Rights to the novel were purchased by first time producers Alex Cutler and Michael Wilcox in 1985. They had been trying to obtain the rights another Australian novel but had difficulty negotiating with the author; someone suggested they have a look at The Delinquents, which Penguin were about to reissue. They obtained finance from the New South Wales Film Corporation and Australian Film Commission and hired Lex Marinos to write a draft. In 1987 David Bowie announced in an interview he thought the book would make good movie, which re-ignited a great deal of interest in the project.[7]

The Australian Film Commission provided further script development money enabling Dorothy Hewett to write a second draft. Greg Coote and John Tarnoff of Village Roadshow became involved and Coote suggested Kylie Minogue play the lead. At one stage Ben Mendelsohn was signed to appear opposite her but eventually it was decided to go with an imported actor so the film might appeal to an international market: Charlie Schlatter was chosen.[1][8]

Chris Thomson was approached the direct. He did not like the script but thought the book was wonderful, so managed to persuade the producers to hire Mac Gudgeon, who had made Waterfront (1983) with Thomson, to work on the script. Village Roadshow agreed to provide half the budget and the producers applied to the FFC for further finance in October 1988.[7]

The film was partly shot at Warner Bros studios on the Gold Coast.[1]

Release and reception[edit]

Reception[edit] later gave the movie a mixed review, scoring it 5/10.[9] IMDb also gives the film a mixed review, with the film scoring 5.1 out of 10.[10] One review complimented the film images, saying "The cinematographer was Andrew Lesnie, who is absolutely one of the best on the planet. He's been the cinematographer for a few little films you may have heard of, like King Kong and the three Lord of the Rings films!" He also praised the period details and Kylie's lead role in the film.[11]


The Delinquents was re-released in the 1989 to tie-in with the release of the film.[12] There are some differences between the film and the novel. For example, in the novel, Lola is part Asian and suffers a miscarriage on the grounds of the all-girls school. It is uncertain whether the screenplay was adjusted or the missing parts of the book were filmed and removed to meet a lower certificate.

Box office and initial screening[edit]

The Delinquents grossed $3,370,650 at the Australian box office in Australia,[2] which is equivalent to $5,864,931 in 2009 dollars. It was the most successful Australian film of 1990 on Australian soil.

The Delinquents premiered in Australia and New Zealand on 21 December 1989 in wide release. Five days after the Australasian release date, it opened in the United Kingdom on 26 December 1989. It was later announced that the film would be released in other European countries; it was released on 1 June 1990 in Finland and Sweden under the name Delinquents - Nuoret Kapinalliset. It opened in the Netherlands on 8 June, then Portugal on 29 June. Its last release was in Germany.

Despite having chosen an American lead actor, with an eye to the American market, the film was never released theatrically in the United States, in part due to a problem with distribution. The film's production company, Delinquents Pty Ltd, took Village Roadshow Corporation, Village Roadshow Pictures and the FFC to court.[8]

Home media[edit]

The Delinquents was released as VHS worldwide in 1989 and released on DVD in Australia only.


The CD soundtrack was released in Australia and New Zealand by Mushroom Records and in the UK by PWL Records.[13] The soundtrack release consisted of old standards, one of them sung by Kylie Minogue.

  1. "Be-Bop-A-Lula" by Gene Vincent (Written by Gene Vincent/Tex Davis)
  2. "Twenty Flight Rocks" by Eddie Cochran (Written by Ned Fairchild/Eddie Cochran)
  3. "Three Steps To Heaven" by Eddie Cochran (Written by Eddie Cochran)
  4. "One Night" by Fats Domino (Written by David Bartholomew/Pearl King)
  5. "Break Up" by Jerry Lee Lewis (Written by Charlie Rich)
  6. "Only You" by The Platters (Written by Buck Ram/Ande Rand)
  7. "Tennessee Waltz" by Pattie Page (Written by King/Stewart)
  8. "Great Balls of Fire" by Pattie Page (Written by Otis Blackwell/Jack Hammer)
  9. "Lucille" by Little Richard (Written by Little Richard (as Penniman)/Albert Collins)
  10. "Slippin' and Slidin" by Little Richard (Written by Little Richard (as Penniman)/Eddie Bo (as Edwin J. Bocage)/Albert Collins/James Smith)
  11. "Since I Met You Baby" by Ivory Joe Hunter (Written by Joe Hunter)
  12. "Chantez Chantez" by Dinah Shore (Written by Albert Gamse/Irving Fields)
  13. "My Babe" by Little Walter (Written by Willie Dixon)
  14. "She's My Baby" by Johnnie O'Keefe (Written by Turnball/Molfast/Finch)
  15. "Roll With Me Henry" by Johnnie O'Keefe (Written by Turnball/Molfast/Finch)
  16. "Tears on My Pillow" by Kylie Minogue (Written by Bradford Lewis)
  17. "Please Send Me Someone To Love" by Johnny Diesel and the Injectors (Written by Percy Mayfield)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry, Pan MacMillan, 1990 p350-352
  2. ^ a b Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office
  3. ^ "Full cast and crew for". Retrieved 31 May 2009. 
  4. ^ "Dead Novelist's Book Praised.". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995) (ACT: National Library of Australia). 30 August 1963. p. 17. Retrieved 8 March 2014. 
  5. ^ "THE MILES FRANKLIN AWARD.". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995) (ACT: National Library of Australia). 20 April 1963. p. 22. Retrieved 8 March 2014. 
  6. ^ "THE BEST WEEKEND.". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995) (ACT: National Library of Australia). 26 January 1986. p. 82. Retrieved 8 March 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Patricia Amad & Philippa Hawker, "The Delinquents", Cinema Papers, July 1989 p4-7
  8. ^ a b Helen Barlow, "The Australian Film Finance Corporation", Cinema Papers, August 1991 p36
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^

External links[edit]