9 user 1 critic

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.


(as Harry Fraser)


(original screenplay)

On Disc

at Amazon


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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


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama | Sport


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 April 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La vida de Joe Louis  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA High Fidelity Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film's earliest documented telecast in the New York City area occurred Wednesday 15 October 1947 on the DuMont Television Network's WABD (Channel 5). In Detroit it first aired Saturday 7 May 1949 on WXYZ (Channel 2), in Chicago Tuesday 21 June 1949 on WENR (Channel 7), and in Los Angeles Sunday 5 February 1950 on KNBH (Channel 4). See more »


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


Little Things You Do
Written by Clarence Muse and Elliot Carpenter
Sung by Clarence Muse
See more »

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User Reviews

Joe Louis worked much better in the real-life ring
5 January 2015 | by See all my reviews

Unfortunately, this is a bad boxing movie. The only interesting thing is that Joe Louis himself plays the leading role, a black boxer from rural Alabama named Joe Thomas, whose story is based in his own real life. Though, I cannot help but add that Joe Louis was an awful actor. The single interesting scene in the whole film is the musical and dancing one, in which Joe just watches, and that is 100% unnecessary to the story. Even the boxing fights are terribly performed; they do not look real. Being old is not an excuse, as nice "The champ" was released seven years before and excellent "Amazing Jim" would be released just four years afterwards. It is quite disappointing start watching something you expect to be special and, a few minutes later, you're already waiting impatiently for its end.

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