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Trouble Along the Way (1953)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 4 April 1953 (USA)
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 »



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

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Complete credited cast:
Alice Singleton
Father Burke
Father Malone
Carol Williams
Anne Williams McCormick
Harold McCormick
Father Peterson
Father Provincial aka Ed
Douglas Spencer ...
Father Procurator aka George
Cardinal William Patrick O'Shea
Stan Schwegler


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


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


Comedy | Drama | Romance | Sport


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

4 April 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alma Mater  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Carol Williams, in this 1953 film, credits her dad, Steve (John Wayne) with saying, "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." Vince Lombardi was recorded as saying something like that in 1959 when he coached the Greenbay Packers. For years, many sportswriters wrongly attributed the source of the remark to Lombardi. The real source of the quote was UCLA Bruins Coach Henry "Red" Sanders. A former sports writer for the Los Angeles Herald and Express, Bud Furillo, said he first heard Sanders say it after UCLA lost its game to USC in 1949. No doubt the writers for this movie remembered having read or heard the phrase, so they included it in the screenplay for "Trouble Along the Way." See more »


Steve says "Watermelon bottom and her daughter." The daughter was the one the kids called Watermelon bottom. See more »


Steve Aloysius Williams: Couldn't he have booked one protestant school along the way... for a breather?
See more »


Featured in Sports on the Silver Screen (1997) See more »


I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles
Music by James Kendis, James Brockman and Nat Vincent
Played when Father Burke is asking the children about Steve
See more »

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User Reviews

This movie will blow you away!
20 February 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Picture a "Cary Grant" style script but take it from the French Riviera and put it in urban New York! The "Grant" staple of high intrigue, beautiful scenery, and opulent subject matter is replaced with dirty streets, pool parlors, and a crooked football team but the dialogue and pacing are still there. Now throw in John Wayne is the seedy football coach who has been thrown out of the "legitamate" football leagues, Charles Coburn is the desperate head priest of a failing college, and Donna Reed is a tunnel visioned "do-gooder" cop. Reed wants to protect Wayne's daughter Sherry Jackson from his unhealthy influence and is sympathetic to Marie Windsor's (ex-wife from hell) claim that her daughter (Jackson) needs to be with her (even though she had abandoned Jackson as an infant when she ran off with another man). Wayne feels he's done nothing wrong but sees that antagonizing Reed is a mistake and takes the job of head coach at Coburn's St. Anthony's college as "cover" to clean up his image. Wayne realizes that if he wheels and deals under the table he can achieve Coburn's goal of making St. Anthony's a winning team and make a fortune for himself and his cohorts (including Chuck Conners in an early role). Wayne pulls in favors, blackmails everyone who doesn't play along, and deceives his benefactors to get a major schedule and almost succeeds. The conclusion of the film is thoroughly satisfying with Richard Garrick as the judge presiding over the case. Wayne takes over in true streetwise "Grant" style and is hilarious to the point that Reed asks the judge "Can I get a word in?" and Garrick resigns himself to say, "Ask him, I lost control of this trial a long time ago". The opposing attorney makes the comment "I could have been trying a murder case this week" and Garrick says, "Hang in there, you might still be". When Reed is asked by the opposing attorney if she loves Wayne, Wayne jumps up and tells the judge, "Remind the witness she's under oath!" Charles Coburn makes a wonderful speech at the end and reminds us of how good an actor he was. This is not John Ford's movie, this is Michael Curtiz' movie and it makes me wonder how much more Wayne had to offer in this genre (we would get a hint of it in "McLintock" and "North to Alaska"). The supporting cast is superb with the likes of Tom Tully and Dabbs Greer. Everyone does a great job and I place this at the top of my John Wayne list of films. Don't miss it.

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