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Trouble Along the Way

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Critics' Reviews

AMG Review
Craig Butler
"Heart warming" is not an adjective usually applied to John Wayne films, but it fits Trouble Along the Way. For that matter, so does "manipulative" and "predictable," and maybe even "mawkish," but Trouble manages to be a good film in spite of this. A big part of the credit goes to the screenplay, the writers of which seem to have been aware of how treacly and annoying this basic story could be and so have made great pains to leaven the script with fine dialogue throughout (and quite more than "fine" in many instances), as well as some nicely observed characters moments. Trouble also benefits from Michael Curtiz's assured direction, which knows how to sidestep the pitfalls in the stock situations. But the film's biggest asset is its cast. John Wayne, still tough but facing a personal crisis rather than having to face warriors of one kind or another, turns in a solid, appealing performance. Donna Reed is dynamite as his social worker-cum-love-interest, and the chemistry between the two is perfect. There's also considerable chemistry (of a different sort) between Wayne and little Sherry Jackson, even if the young actress occasionally gets a bit too cute. And Charles Coburn, of course, is his reliably soft-but-crusty self. Trouble has its problems, but it's an engaging way to pass the afternoon. ~ Craig Butler, Rovi
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