Johnny Trouble (1957)

Johnny Trouble (1957) is not a film noir despite its posturing title and potential eagerness to be classed as such using the classic Johnny ― Noir naming motif.

Instead Johnny Trouble is a softly presented teen tearaway inter-generational whimsical drama about one elderly lady's grief and her longing for a society and a family in which everything will turn out all right.

The elderly lady in this matter is none other than Ethel Barrymore and this was her final film role which does lead to some interesting places including a fond fade to farewell when she bows out as well as 

For a gritty 27 years, Katherine Chandler, a dame of wealth but a prisoner of invalidity, has been clinging to hope, waiting for her long-lost son Johnny to walk back into her life. The joint she calls home gets snatched up by a nearby college looking to build a dorm for the college boys, but Katherine ain't budging – she's got a lease as tough as they come, a contract saying she ain't moving unless she gives the nod.

Ethel Barrymore in her final film role Johnny Trouble (1957)

The college sends in the bulls, construction starts banging around her place, but instead of folding, Katherine turns on the charm. She's got the working stiffs and the college cubs wrapped around her finger, inviting them in for tea like it's a cozy Sunday afternoon. Her trusted wheelman, Tom McKay, helps shuffle her up and down the stairs while the boys and students lend a hand.

Carolyn Jones in Johnny Trouble (1957)

One night, a skirt named Julie Horton crashes through the fire escape. Seems she's got trouble with her ex-Marine boyfriend Johnny, now trying to hack it in school. Katherine's intrigued; she wants to meet this Johnny. The more she hangs with him, the more she's thinking, could this be her long-lost kid? She starts enjoying his company, trusting him like a good dame does.

But Johnny's on the ropes ― bad grades, lousy behavior, and he's staring expulsion in the face. Katherine, she's got a plan. She rolls up on the big shots at the university, tells them straight – give Johnny a shot, and she'll clear out. The bigwigs nod in agreement.

Carolyn Jones in Johnny Trouble (1957)

In a cinematic whimsy for the ages, Barrymore embodies the character of Mrs. Chandler, a matriarch ensconced within the confines of a residential haven metamorphosing into a bastion of youthful exuberance. Refusing to yield to the encroaching tide of change, she stands resolute, her ownership of the abode a formidable bulwark against the machinations of those seeking to displace her.

As the narrative unfurls, the hallowed halls of academia acquiesce to Mrs. Chandler's tenacity, begrudgingly extending an olive branch that permits her continued residence amidst the burgeoning fraternity of young scholars. In a testament to her indomitable spirit, she swiftly ingratiates herself within their ranks, her maternal charm leaving an indelible mark upon their impressionable minds.

Enter John Chandler, a scion ensnared in the throes of dissipation, a prodigal soul whose tumultuous existence mirrors the labyrinthine corridors of his estranged lineage. Mrs. Chandler, her maternal instincts aflame, espouses a fervent belief that this wayward youth is none other than her own flesh and blood, a serendipitous reunion set against the backdrop of collegiate strife.

Amidst the tumult of academic tribulations, Mrs. Chandler emerges as the beacon of redemption, her unwavering advocacy a testament to the enduring bonds of kinship. As fate conspires to intertwine their destinies, a symbiotic pact is forged, promising a respite from the tempestuous seas of uncertainty.

Stuart Whitman in Johnny Trouble (1957)

In a minor opus that marks the culmination of her illustrious career, Barrymore's portrayal exudes an ineffable humour and jollity, her presence a paragon of dignified poise and entertaining whimsy. Kellaway and White, as her steadfast compatriots, lend a delightful effervescence to the tapestry of the narrative, their performances a symphony of nuanced brilliance.

Yet, amidst the tapestry of accolades, a minor discordant note arises. The verisimilitude of collegiate veracity is marred by the incongruity of age, the youthful denizens of academia betraying the passage of time in their visages. They are tearaways!

Cecil Kellaway in Johnny Trouble (1957)

Jones, as the epitome of allure and allure, captivates the screen with her ethereal beauty, her mesmerizing presence a testament to the allure of celluloid enchantment. Whitman, though a stalwart presence, grapples with the specter of age, a vestige of his wartime valor casting a pall upon the illusion of youth.

An enigma shrouds the enigmatic figure of "Jim Bridges," his presence casting a spectral shadow upon the annals of cinematic history. Whether he be the hand that guides the narrative or a mere conduit of artistic expression remains a mystery to the discerning eye.

In a narrative mosaic punctuated by the eponymous motif of "Johnny," the legacy of celluloid chronicles finds its genesis in the hallowed halls of Johnny Apollo (1940) a seminal opus that birthed a lineage of cinematic tributes to the name.

Ethel Barrymore, Stuart Whitman and Christmas in Johnny Trouble (1957)

Johnny shapes up, nails his courses, but the guy's got a change of heart. Instead of ditching school, he wants to drop a ring on Julie's finger – she's packing heat, got a bun in the oven. After a heart-to-heart with Katherine, Johnny pulls a 180, decides to stay in school, and ties the knot with Julie. The newlyweds set their sights on an off-campus pad, bringing Katherine along for the ride.

Katherine's feeling like she's got a family again – the real deal. But the twist hits like a slug. That night, she takes her last breath, checks out in her sleep. The crew, the workers, the students, they all show up for the farewell at the joint, where Tom spills the beans – Johnny, her boy, met his maker in a car crash 27 years ago. Her old man made Tom swear on the level never to spill the beans, keeping her hanging on to hope all those years. Tough way to go, but Katherine went out thinking she had her family back. 

Johnny Trouble (1957) upon Wikipedia

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