Johnny Trouble


1h 20m 1957
Johnny Trouble

Brief Synopsis

When her apartment house becomes a college dorm, an elderly woman stays on to become the boys' surrogate mother.

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Film Details

Genre
Drama
Release Date
Sep 21, 1957
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Clarion Enterprises, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 20m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,132ft

Synopsis

Every year, on the anniversary of young John Chandler's disappearance, Rev. Harrington preaches the story of the prodigal son to please wealthy, chair-ridden Katherine Chandler, who has waited for her son to return for twenty-seven years. Fearing that John will be unable to find her, Katherine refuses to vacate her elegant old apartment when the building is sold to the local university to be used as a mens' dormitory. When the university's liaison, Parsons, is sent to evict her, she produces a lease that is cancelable only at her own option. Parsons and the board hope that the renovation and removal of the old-fashioned elevator will drive her out, but Katherine charms the workmen into hammering only after she awakens in the morning. At the beginning of the term, the dormitory proctor, Phil Wilson, tries to keep the high-spirited men under control, but several jokers knock on Katherine's door. Surprised by the grandmotherly figure who answers, the students are shocked into respectfulness. Amused by their antics, Katherine graciously invites them to return during "visiting hours" for tea. At tea time, several young men, dressed in suits, show up, and after an initial awkwardness, warm to Katherine, whom they call "Nana." Phil tells her the disadvantages of living with rowdy students, but soon the men install a bellpull in her apartment and devise a system for efficiently clearing the hall of unclad men when Katherine leaves her apartment for outings. The men take turns assisting her longtime friend and chauffeur, Tom McKay, by carrying her in the wheelchair down the steps. The arrangements are working smoothly when, one night, a brassy young woman, Julie Horton, breaks into her apartment through the fire escape. Enchanted by Katherine's old-worldly spell, Julie confides that she is trying to reach her boyfriend, John Chandler, to make up after a quarrel. Hoping that this John is related to her long-lost John, Katherine sends for him and finds that the troubled ex-Marine bears physical and emotional resemblance to her son. However, Tom, after being introduced to the student, gently advises that Katherine protect herself from disappointment. Meanwhile, troubled by poor grades and his many run-ins with Phil, John quarrels with Julie over her reputation as the college "tramp" and gets into a fight with Phil. When John's roommate Eddie reports that John is to be expelled, Katherine visits the school authorities. After explaining how the expulsion of her son from the same university resulted in unhappiness for three generations, she offers to move out of the dormitory after the term, if they will give John another chance. The board agrees, and John, who is touched by her efforts, begins to change. His grades improve, and he and Julie spend more time with Katherine. Near Christmas, while Katherine and Tom are out, Julie again slips into Katherine's apartment, where John is reading Shakespeare, and the two make love. At the end of the term, John learns that he has passed, but tells Katherine that he is leaving school to earn money for the pregnant Julie, who is putting the child up for adoption. While appearing to support his decision, Katherine tactfully helps the young couple change their plans. Julie moves in with Katherine, and John, who continues with school, gets a job at the university. The night before John's parents are expected to visit, Katherine prays for the reuniting of her family. The next morning, Julie finds that Katherine has died in her sleep. For the last time, the young men carry Katherine down the steps. At her funeral, Tom tells the one hundred and fifty young men, who have become her family, that Katherine's troubled son died many years ago after an accident in a stolen automobile. Although the son gave hospital officials an assumed name, Katherine's husband eventually learned about his son's death and made Tom swear to keep the secret. Tom, who has dreaded all these years that Katherine would learn the truth, concludes that Katherine waited for her son to come home, but finally went home to him.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Release Date
Sep 21, 1957
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Clarion Enterprises, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 20m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,132ft

Articles

Johnny Trouble


In the heartwarming 1957 drama Johnny Trouble Ethel Barrymore plays Katherine Chandler, a woman whose troubled son mysteriously disappeared twenty-seven years earlier after being expelled from school. Clinging to hope that he will one day return, Katherine refuses to leave her apartment, even after her building is sold to a nearby university and turned into a men's dormitory. When she meets Johnny (Stuart Whitman), a wild young student there, she becomes convinced that he is her grandson and sets out to steer him onto the right path.

Most notable for being the last film appearance of legendary star of stage and screen Ethel Barrymore before her death in 1959, Johnny Trouble was a remake of a 1943 film called Someone to Remember. The original film, directed by Robert Siodmak, starred Mabel Paige in the Barrymore role.

Ethel Barrymore had emerged from semi-retirement and signed on with a small independent production company called Clarion in 1956 in order to make Johnny Trouble. At age 77, Barrymore was not in the best of health when she took on the new project. Ever the professional, however, she made the most of her sentimental role and elevated the entire production merely by her presence.

Warner Bros. released Johnny Trouble as the second film on a double bill with The Helen Morgan Story in 1957. Heartfelt and touching, Johnny Trouble is a charming story of love and redemption that will warm any heart.

Producer: John H. Auer
Director: John H. Auer
Screenplay: Charles O'Neil, David Lord; Ben Ames Williams (story "Prodigal's Mother")
Cinematography: J. Peverell Marley
Art Direction: James W. Sullivan
Music: Frank De Vol
Film Editing: Tony Martinelli
Cast: Ethel Barrymore (Katherine Chandler), Cecil Kellaway (Tom McKay), Stuart Whitman (Johnny), Carolyn Jones (Julie Horton), Jesse White (Parsons), Rand Harper (Phil Wilson), Paul Wallace (Paul), Edd Byrnes (Elliott), Edward Castagna (Tex), Nino Tempo (Charlie), Jim Bridges (Ike), Paul Lukather (Bill), James Bell (Rev. Harrington), Samuel Colt (Mr. Reichow), Kip King (Boy), Gavin Muir (Madden), Jack Larson (Eddie).
BW-80m.

by Andrea Passafiume
Johnny Trouble

Johnny Trouble

In the heartwarming 1957 drama Johnny Trouble Ethel Barrymore plays Katherine Chandler, a woman whose troubled son mysteriously disappeared twenty-seven years earlier after being expelled from school. Clinging to hope that he will one day return, Katherine refuses to leave her apartment, even after her building is sold to a nearby university and turned into a men's dormitory. When she meets Johnny (Stuart Whitman), a wild young student there, she becomes convinced that he is her grandson and sets out to steer him onto the right path. Most notable for being the last film appearance of legendary star of stage and screen Ethel Barrymore before her death in 1959, Johnny Trouble was a remake of a 1943 film called Someone to Remember. The original film, directed by Robert Siodmak, starred Mabel Paige in the Barrymore role. Ethel Barrymore had emerged from semi-retirement and signed on with a small independent production company called Clarion in 1956 in order to make Johnny Trouble. At age 77, Barrymore was not in the best of health when she took on the new project. Ever the professional, however, she made the most of her sentimental role and elevated the entire production merely by her presence. Warner Bros. released Johnny Trouble as the second film on a double bill with The Helen Morgan Story in 1957. Heartfelt and touching, Johnny Trouble is a charming story of love and redemption that will warm any heart. Producer: John H. Auer Director: John H. Auer Screenplay: Charles O'Neil, David Lord; Ben Ames Williams (story "Prodigal's Mother") Cinematography: J. Peverell Marley Art Direction: James W. Sullivan Music: Frank De Vol Film Editing: Tony Martinelli Cast: Ethel Barrymore (Katherine Chandler), Cecil Kellaway (Tom McKay), Stuart Whitman (Johnny), Carolyn Jones (Julie Horton), Jesse White (Parsons), Rand Harper (Phil Wilson), Paul Wallace (Paul), Edd Byrnes (Elliott), Edward Castagna (Tex), Nino Tempo (Charlie), Jim Bridges (Ike), Paul Lukather (Bill), James Bell (Rev. Harrington), Samuel Colt (Mr. Reichow), Kip King (Boy), Gavin Muir (Madden), Jack Larson (Eddie). BW-80m. by Andrea Passafiume

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Nate Barragar's onscreen credit reads: "Production Manager and Assistant Director." Although the initial Hollywood Reporter production chart lists Peerless Productions as the production company, later charts and other sources credit Clarion Enterprises, Inc. It is possible that the initial chart erroneously listed Peerless, a company owned by Edward Small. According to Warner Bros. production notes and the Daily Variety review, Johnny Trouble was Clarion's first production. A Hollywood Reporter production chart noted that the independent film was planned for United Artists release, but a June 1957 Daily Variety news item reported that Warner Bros. later acquired the distribution rights of the film, which John Carroll, who was president and executive producer of Clarion, and former Republic producer-director John H. Auer produced together.
       According to a January 1957 Daily Variety article, the PCA twice rejected the script, citing "unacceptable treatment of illicit sex." A January 1957 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that Auer and Carroll continued shooting the script without PCA approval, gambling that their method of handling the "delicate situation" would be approved when the picture was screened. After viewing the completed picture, the officials awarded the film the PCA seal. An October 1957 Variety article reported that David Lord (a pseudonym for writer Henry Peter David), sued Warner Bros. for misspelling his surname as "Loren" on all publicity materials. Ben Ames Williams' screen story, which was titled "Prodigal's Mother," was also the basis for the 1943 Republic production, Someone to Remember, which was directed by Robert Siodmak and starred Mabel Paige and John Craven (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50).

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall September 1957

Jim Bridges is later film director James Bridges ("The Paper Chase" 1973, "The China Syndrome" 1979, "Urban Cowboy" 1980, "Bright Lights, Big City" 1988, among others), here making his film debut.

Ethel Barrymore's last film.

Released in United States Fall September 1957