- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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A regular guy
This was a nice movie. Duke was not a cowboy or in uniform. He doesn't play the larger than life hero. He even moves differently - the famous "walk" is somewhat toned down. He is a regular guy - a football coach - who has had troubles in the past, drinks a bit, gambles and is thoroughly charming, cynical and funny. The most important thing in his life is his young daughter who he is raising alone. They have a wonderful relationship. ( Look for a scene where Duke is wearing pajamas and has a quilt wrapped around his waist - hysterical! ) Donna Reed plays a child protective services social worker. As usual, she is beautiful and strikes just the right note in her performance.I think that this is a wonderful change of pace for Wayne fans. Enjoy!
- Jim Campbell
I agree with other who call these one of the best and most realistic football movies of the time. What I appreciate most is that it "busts" the myth that Vince Lombardi originated the phrase "Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing." In 1953, my high school coach related it to us and credited Cleveland Browns (NFL) head coach Paul Brown with originating it--not quite correct either. Of course, in 1953 Vince Lombardi was known only to a precious few outside of his New York Football Giants offensive players. But the film's dialogue has Carol (Sherry Jackson) saying, "Steve (Wayne) says 'Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing." That should take Lombardi--and Brown--out of the equation. However, most football historians--and I like to include myself as such--credit then-UCLA coach Red Sanders as the originator of the phrase. UCLA was a power before and at the time of the film, and Wayne was friendly with the Bruins coach. Some sports cable talking-heads like to thing they are only to something, when they credit Wayne with the quote in "Trouble Along the Way," but anyone watching the film knows that is a myth. It was Carol (Jackson) who uttered the dialogue. One of the uncredited actors is Bill Radovich (the squat assistant coach). "Rado" played nearly a decade of pro football, and somewhere in the background--probably a P.A. voice in a football sequence--a quarterback named Radovich makes a play. I've seen the movie many times and never tire of it. Five stars in my rating system...
Definete change of pace for the
It almost seemed odd to see John Wayne in street clothes and not either in the military or on a horse. I found the dialouge the best part of the movie,especially between father and daughter. The supporting cast was solid with the reliable Dabs Greer and an early look at Chuck Conners. If you don't blink, you get a glimpe of James Dean as a college student. I was ready for the predictable but was surprised to see it not delivered. I thought the movie was enjoyable without trying to do too much.
Surprisingly Timely Themes for 1950s Era Movie
I love this movie. I watched it again today and remember how surprised I was after watching it for the first time on TCM. Football coach John Wayne is raising Carol, his precocious young daughter by himself. Wayne took Carol after walking in on her mother having an affair while daughter Carol slept upstairs. Wayne loses his job at a major football school, but ends up getting an offer to coach at a sad-sack, run down Catholic college in NYC. This is where it gets so interesting.For a movie to be made during the Eisenhower 50s that shows college football players getting money from coaches as the norm, that shows a mother who clearly dislikes motherhood and has no interest in her child, and shows the stresses on child welfare workers....But the biggest surprise is Sherry Jackson, the child actress who plays Carol, and the lines she says/attitude she is allowed to portray. Her relationship with John Wayne is wonderful and the heart of this movie. If you think about kids in 50s-era TV shows well...this child isn't one of them. Carol's sarcasm and accurate assessment of her parents is something more out of the 90s: wry, cynical. I love the football aspects of this movie, and I love the relationship between John Wayne and his priestly boss. Donna Reed, as the social worker/female lead is good, too, and nice that she got two hard bitten roles (From Here to Eternity was the same year) to balance out her "good girl" roles. But the best part is the interaction between John Wayne and Sherry Jackson.This is good for Saturday afternoon movie watching!
trouble along the way
Better than most football movies of the era this fim features the always excellent Charles Coburn. The back and forth dialogue between John Wayne and Sherry Jackson, who plays his daughter, is excellent. The movie ends with a thud, which makes me wonder if the writers hit a brick wall trying to think up an ending??