Trouble Along The Way (1953)

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    Photo with the courtesy of lasbugas


    Plot Summary
    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.

    Full Cast
    John Wayne ... Stephen 'Steve' Aloysius Williams
    Donna Reed ... Alice Singleton
    Charles Coburn ... Father Matthew William 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
    Murray Alper ... Bus Driver (uncredited)
    Phil Chambers ... Bishop (uncredited)
    James Dean ... Football Spectator (uncredited)
    Frank Ferguson ... Mike Edwards (store proprietor) (uncredited)
    James Flavin ... Buck Holman (coach) (uncredited)
    Fritz Ford ... Football Player (uncredited)
    Jack Gargan ... Court Bailiff (uncredited)
    Richard Garrick ... Judge (uncredited)
    Ned Glass ... Pool player (uncredited)
    Fred Graham ... Bill Sackheim - Santa Clara team manager (uncredited)
    Merv Griffin ... Football Broadcaster (voice) (uncredited)
    Harry Hines ... Character (uncredited)
    Robert Keys ... Joe - assistant Santa Clara team manager (uncredited)
    Paul Kruger ... Court Bailiff (uncredited)
    Lou Marcelle ... Trailer Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
    Frank Marlowe ... Drunk in Bar with Dog (uncredited)
    Larry Merrill ... Jeffrey Marlowe (uncredited)
    Jack Mower ... Domestic Relations Court Staffer (uncredited)
    William H. O'Brien ... Joe - Bartender (uncredited)
    Jack Pepper ... Irish Tenor / Pianist in Saloon (uncredited)
    Howard Petrie ... Marvin Adams, Polo Grounds manager (uncredited)
    Angi O. Poulos ... Saloon Waiter (uncredited)
    Vicki Raaf ... Beanie, Saloon Girl (uncredited)
    Bill Radovich ... Moose McCall (uncredited)
    Olan Soule ... The Cardinal's Secretary (uncredited)
    Anitra Stevens ... Bobo, Saloon Girl (uncredited)
    Arthur Tovey ... Football Spectator (uncredited)
    Renata Vanni ... Maria's Italian Mother (uncredited)
    Ralph Volkie ... Referee (uncredited)
    Charles Watts ... Mr. Wallace, Alumnus (uncredited)
    Guy Way ... Football Player (uncredited)
    Jeri Weil ... Carol, Age 5 (uncredited)
    Gayne Whitman ... Lawyer Grummet (uncredited)

    Writing Credits
    Robert Hardy Andrews story
    James Edward Grant uncredited
    Douglas Morrow story
    Jack Rose screenplay
    Melville Shavelson screenplay

    Original Music
    Max Steiner

    Archie Stout

    Several Loyola-Marymount football players played in the football scenes.

    James Dean has an uncredited part as a 'Football Spectator' in this film.

    The external scenes at the college were shot at Pomona College. The building where John Wayne calls to Donna Reed at he end of the film is the Hall of Music at Pomona.

    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.

    * Errors in geography: Although the movie is set at a college in New York, there is a California flag flying near the stadium when Steve first meets the football team.

    * Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): Steve says "Watermelon bottom and her daughter." The daughter was the one the kids called Watermelon bottom.

    * Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): 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.

    * Crew or equipment visible: Camera shadow crosses Anne and Harold on couch just before Steve enters room and catches them in clinch.

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Locations

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 11 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Trouble Along the Way was a 1953 film starring John Wayne and Donna Reed,
    with a supporting cast including Charles Coburn and Marie Windsor.
    The movie was directed by Michael Curtiz, director of Casablanca.
    The black-and-white comedy was released by Warner Bros.

    Another poor effort from the great man, and another one
    he should have walked from.
    Although story of football, one of Duke's passions,
    it develops into a poor romance and a storyline
    that lacks credibility!

    His fans at the time, found it difficult, to accept Duke,
    in anything but a horse opera.
    At the time, television was hitting films hard,
    and as a result, this picture disappeared quickly,
    and became Duke's lowest grossing film

    I don't think many folks knew this,
    and I certainly didn't because I wasn't looking,
    is that James Dean made a movie with Duke!!

    Trouble Along the Way (1953) (uncredited) .... Football Spectator

    We may be able to spot, him, not hardly!

    User Review

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 3 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • This is one movie in my opinion that has been shoved and forgotten. I really like this movie a lot and see that Duke and Donna Reed work well together. As a down and out football coach with a daughter trying to hustle his way through life, Duke plays the part well and with Sherry Jackson playing his daughter, they have good chemistry.

    You get to see a young Chuck Conners (The Rifleman), with a bit part, but the movie is delightful and a great addition to any collection.

    It is only available on VHS (at this time), so watch out for a DVD release, hopefully very soon.

    Cheers :cool:


    "When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it"

    - John Wayne quote

  • This is a must see movie by all Duke fans. I guess I like it because of the way he makes a change in his life for the better at the end of the movie. It is not a high quality movie and it is not a top Duke movie. It is probably a movie that most of you have never seen, but I do recommend this movie for all to see.

    It is not released on DVD, but is on VHS. I don't think I ever seen this movie on TV.

    As for the child in the movie, she is quiet good. Sherry Jackson was so good for a child actor. It is the first time that Duke did a movie from beginning to end with a child under his wing. Donna Reed is good too. I think she has great legs too. And Charles Coburn was great as the priest in this movie. He played his part well.

    If you get the chance, see it. I think you will like it. It will not be a top movie for your list, but you will like it.

    Cheers :cool:


    "When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it"

    - John Wayne quote

  • Agree with you about Charles Coburn. He is a fine actor and plays a priest well. I also like the chemistry with Sherry Jackson, the child actress. They play off each other so well. I wish they had more scenes together.

    Cheers :cool:


    "When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it"

    - John Wayne quote

  • You guys have renewed our interest in this movie. Although we own it, and the Mrs. assures me I've seen it, I have to say I honestly can't remember it at all, so will have to watch it again. I'm not particularly interested in the Super Bowl, but I could watch this movie today instead - it's football and John Wayne.

    Chester :newyear:

  • I found this one to be a very enjoyable film, and look forward to it being on DVD one day. I'd agree that more scenes with Charles Coburn and Sherry Jackson would have been a treat.

  • Just saw this film for the first time this weekend. What a treat! The whole family enjoyed it. I wish Duke had done more comedy rolls. I understand there were issues with script switches on this film but the Duke seemed to carry his part off very well.

    Great movie!


    "I have tried to live my life so that my family would love me and my friends respect me. The others can do whatever the hell they please."

  • I THINK I have seen at least the tailend of this movie. It was on either TCM or AMC sometime earlier this year. All I cought was them standing in the archway of a Church, and I think John Wayne walks away? IF this is something that happened at the tail end of this movie, please let me know. Otherwise, I would like to see Duke in a different role.

    I'd like to add that i'd like to see this to also see an early appearance of Chuck Connors.

    Es Ist Verboten Mit Gefangenen In Einzelhaft Zu Sprechen..

  • I found this one to be a very enjoyable film, and look forward to it being on DVD one day. I'd agree that more scenes with Charles Coburn and Sherry Jackson would have been a treat.

    I'm not sure when it was released on DVD, but it is very affordable at Deep Discount, for under $10!

    Ringo, in answer to your question, I don't remember the ending clearly enough to say if it is the one you described. Perhaps someone who's seen it more recently can tell us.

    Chester :newyear:

  • Thanks Jim, my problem is that I only saw the last few minutes of it when played. I have not seen it listed to play again. I do seem to recall that something to do with Football was either mentioned or shown but, at the time it was playing; I was busy doing something and did not notice much.

    Es Ist Verboten Mit Gefangenen In Einzelhaft Zu Sprechen..

  • from making money at pool to keep his daughter to cutting corners getting a competitive roster for football JW is playing the role of a dad trying to do the right thing and still being human. I can support that

    Greetings from North of the 49th

  • The delight in this film is the fact that a father is taking care of his daughter the best way he can. His ex-wife abandons the family when confronted about an affair or maybe a better way to say it is caught being unfaithful to her husband. He crashes and lives down and out taking care of his little girl. He has to make changes when a child services officer is acting on a petition from the girl's mother wanting to take back her daughter, and accusing dad of being an unfit father. So, he compromises when offered a job as a football coach at a struggling small catholic college who is looking at closing their doors because of financial problems. So the school and the father are a perfect fit. They need stability fast and they do it in a compromising way.

    This is a really good story and a lot of lessons learned, a good bit of comedy, and some romance. This may not be a John Wayne memorable movie, but it does touches the heart. With a fine cast like Charles Coburn, Donna Reed, Marie Windsor and little Sherry Jackson, the movie survives with some good acting.

    The weakness I can see is the way they copped this movie up as assumed to keep it under the time that was set. I bet a good portion of this movie was on the cutting floor. It is charming to me.

    Cheers :cool:


    "When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it"

    - John Wayne quote

  • This is one of JW's best movies, in my opinion...he showed (for the upteenth time) that he was one of Hollywood's greatest actors, and had possessed incredible range. Also, it's VERY important to note that JW was the first to say "Winning isn't everything, it's the ONLY thing!" MANY years before Vince Lombardi was credited with it...If you haven't seen it, you owe it to yourself make sure you do, and do it right away!!

  • Well, with all the mess going on in college football right now, it put me in the mood for this film. Then, I went back and read this thread from the beginning. Funny that all the Americans who watched this film loved it, whereas all the Europeans hated it. Of course, since it's about a uniquely American sport, football, I guess it shouldn't be too surprising. At any rate, this is certainly one movie that, if anything, is even more relevant now than it was when it was first released. The slimy underbelly of college football is even bigger now, and of course, is playing for a lot more money and even bigger payoffs now. Even Duke's own USC Trojans aren't immune from it all. Sad. I also noticed Chuck Connors (The Rifleman) in an early role as one of Duke's assistant coaches. Here's an interesting article about the film, as well.


    "I am not intoxicated - yet." McLintock!

  • I think this was one of John Wayne's most underrated movies. It's too bad that he didn't do more movies like this instead of some of the historical ones like the Conquerer which was just out of his range. This is really just an old fashioned family movie. His scenes with Sherry Jackson were great. You can tell that everything he did, he did it for her. Wayne and Reed have great chemistry together. I've always enjoyed Charles Coburn in just about everything he did and he's great here. All in all it was a very enjoyable movie. It's too bad that it's not as well known.