6.9/10
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30 user 16 critic

Trouble Along the Way (1953)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 4 April 1953 (USA)
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Struggling to retain custody of his daughter following his divorce, football coach Steve Williams finds himself embroiled in a recruiting scandal at the tiny Catholic college he is trying ... See full summary »

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Writers:

Melville Shavelson (screenplay), Jack Rose (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Wayne ... Steve Aloysius Williams
Donna Reed ... Alice Singleton
Charles Coburn ... Father Burke
Tom Tully ... Father Malone
Sherry Jackson ... Carol Williams
Marie Windsor ... Anne Williams McCormick
Tom Helmore ... Harold McCormick
Dabbs Greer ... Father Peterson
Leif Erickson ... Father Provincial aka Ed
Douglas Spencer ... Father Procurator aka George
Lester Matthews ... Cardinal William Patrick O'Shea
Chuck Connors ... Stan Schwegler
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Storyline

Struggling to retain custody of his daughter following his divorce, football coach Steve Williams finds himself embroiled in a recruiting scandal at the tiny Catholic college he is trying to bring back to football respectability. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Wild, Wayne and Wonderful All The Way! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance | Sport

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 April 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alma Mater See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The football game scenes were filmed at the Polo Grounds in New York, which at the time was the home field of the NFL's New York Giants. See more »

Goofs

When Father Burke first announces his intention to solve the school's financial crisis, he says that his plan is in "Deuteromony" (rather than Deuteronomy), chapter 32, verse 15, a mispronunciation unlikely for a seasoned cleric. Additionally, when the others look it up, they read a paraphrase of an excerpt only, not the whole verse. See more »

Quotes

Steve Aloysius Williams: Oh, it's a fine game, football - noble game. Originated in England in 1823. An enterprising young man named William Weber Ellis - who studied for the ministry, by the way - found his team behind in a soccer game, so he picked up the ball, and ran through the amazed opponents for a thoroughly illegal touchdown. And that's how football was born - illegitimately. So, it moved to America where someone took advantage of a loophole in the rules, and invented a little formation called the Flying Wedge...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Remember the Titans (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Auld Lang Syne
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by the students outside the window
See more »

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User Reviews

 
surprisingly good little gem
17 July 2001 | by rupieSee all my reviews

I checked this out during a recent John Wayne retrospective on American Movie Classics because it sounded so different from the Duke's usual "w/w" fare (war & westerns). Here he plays Steve Williams, a disgraced professional football coach enlisted to build a revenue-producing team that will save a down-at-the-heels Catholic college from being forced to close. In the process he has to fight for custody of his daughter from a spiteful and vengeful ex-wife.

Wayne plays this role beautifully; his performance makes us aware of the fine actor he made of himself as he worked his way up over the years from those low-budget westerns, learning all along the way. Donna Reed puts in a turn as a social worker, and Charles Coburn is in his usual fine fettle as Father Burke, rector of the failing college. Wayne/William's daughter is played very well by a young lady named Sherry Jackson, and there are many familiar faces among the character actors in the cast. Chuck Connors makes one of his earliest screen appearances here.

The pacing is good, and the story keeps us involved. These are all interesting people, and we want to find out what happens to them. The script is intelligent, gritty, and extremely witty in many places. Also notable is a very on-the-money portrayal of the corrupting influence of big-time athletics at the college level, as Wayne/Williams pulls many shady tricks to field a team that can stand up to the ridiculously ambitious schedule that Father Burke manages to finagle. The commentary is even more relevant today, fifty years later, as college athletics have spun almost completely out of control.

One of the nicest things about the movie is the way in which, surprisingly, it does not opt for the easy-way-out happy ending that we all think we see coming as soon as Donna Reed as the social worker comes on the scene. The film is brave enough to leave things a bit unresolved.

Altogether an off-beat, intriguing, well-made, well-written, well-acted and thoroughly enjoyable little "sleeper" that is well worth your while.


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