6.3/10
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Spirit of Youth (1938)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, Sport | 1 April 1938 (USA)
The story of the rise of boxer Joe Thomas, which paralleled the life of Joe Louis.

Director:

(as Harry Fraser)

Writer:

(original screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Joe Thomas
...
Frankie Walburn
Edna Mae Harris ...
Mary Bowdin
Mae Turner ...
Flora Bailey
Cleo Desmond ...
Nora Thomas
...
Creighton 'Crickie' Fitzgibbons
Jewel Smith ...
Duke Emerald
Tom Southern ...
Dr. Bowdin
Jess Lee Brooks ...
Jeff Thomas (as Jesse Lee Brooks)
Marguerite Whitten ...
Eleanor Thomas (as Margaret Whitten)
Clarence Brooks ...
Speedy
The Plantation Chior ...
Church Choir
The Creole Chorus ...
The Creole Chorus
The Big Apple Dancers ...
Dancers
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Storyline

The story of the rise of boxer Joe Thomas, which paralleled the life of Joe Louis.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Sport

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 April 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La vida de Joe Louis  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA High Fidelity Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Production Code Administration director, Joseph Breen, told the production company that the movie was "questionable" because it showed a black boxer beating white boxers, and that distribution in the South may be difficult. See more »

Connections

Featured in Movies of Color: Black Southern Cinema (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Spirit of Youth
(uncredited)
Written by Clarence Muse and Elliot Carpenter
Danced by The Big Apple Dancers
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User Reviews

Entertaining Film
27 February 2017 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Spirit of Youth (1938)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Boxing legend Joe Louis plays a boxer named Joe Thomas in this film, which was clearly meant to be a biography.

SPIRIT OF YOUTH is like a lot of the race pictures from this era. It's got an extremely low-budget and this here causes there to be countless technical issues with the film. At times it's poorly shot and there's no doubt that they were working with very little money as the entire film has a rather rushed and cheap feel to it.

With that said, this here is certainly an entertaining movie on a number of levels with the biggest being the fact that you get to see Louis during his prime. If you're expecting a good performance from him then you'll be disappointed because he's actually rather bad as an actor. He's usually just given one line at most and the reading is downright horrible but I don't think too many people will be that harsh on him. After all, the fun is just getting to see the man himself in the role.

The supporting cast includes a nice performance by Clarence Muse as well as a good supporting bit for Mantan Moreland who pretty much plays the sidekick. Several of the supporting performances are hit and miss but there's nothing here so bad that it's going to take away any entertainment value from the film itself.

As I said, SPIRIT OF YOUTH isn't that pretty to look at but it's a fun film and it's at least nice to see Louis.


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