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Keep Punching (1939)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 7 December 1939 (USA)
Henry Jackson, known as Little Dynamite, is a Golden Gloves champion, who agrees to turn professional when approached by fight manager Ed Watson, despite the opposition raised by his father... See full summary »


John Clein


Rosamond Johnson (story) (as J. Rosamond Johnson), Marcy Klauber (screenplay)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Henry Armstrong Henry Armstrong ... Henry Jackson
Willie Bryant Willie Bryant ... Frank Harrison
Mae E. Johnson Mae E. Johnson ... Jerry Jordan (as Mae Johnson)
Hamtree Harrington Hamtree Harrington ... 'Windy' Butler
Canada Lee ... Speedy Joe Williams (Henry's Trainer)
Lionel Monagas Lionel Monagas ... Eddie 'Ed' Watson (Henry's Manager)
Francine Everett Francine Everett ... Fanny Singleton
Dooley Wilson ... Baron Skinner (as Arthur 'Dooley' Wilson)
Hilda Offley Hilda Offley ... Mrs. Jackson (Henry's Mother)
Walter Robinson Walter Robinson ... Mr. Jackson (Henry's Father)
George Wiltshire George Wiltshire ... Jack Hemingway
Rosamond Johnson ... The Minister (as J. Rosamond Johnson)
Buddy Bowser Buddy Bowser ... Harrison's Friend
Elson Wright Elson Wright ... Bartender
Lee Norman Lee Norman ... Bandleader Norman Lee


Henry Jackson, known as Little Dynamite, is a Golden Gloves champion, who agrees to turn professional when approached by fight manager Ed Watson, despite the opposition raised by his father and Fanny Singleton, his sweetheart. Soon, Jackson is ready to fight for the championship, when he runs into Frank Harrison, an old school friend. Harrison is not the faithful friend that Jackson believes him to be as he is betting heavily that the heavily-favored Jackson will lose the bout. To ensure he does, Harrison introduces Jackson to a hot mama, Jerry Jordan, who is instructed to make him drink, stay out late and generally mess him up by whatever means. The day of the fight, Harrison orders Jerry to slip Jackson a sleeping potion just before he leaves for the fight. Jerry, now in love with Jackson, finally agrees after Harrison threatens her. A few hours before the fight, Jackson, Windy, a Harlem hanger-on, Harrison and Jerry are in Harrison's apartment when Jerry proposes a toast to Jordan.... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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THE CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS With a Terrific Cast of Colored Stars (original poster)


Crime | Drama | Romance | Sport


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

7 December 1939 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

M.C. Pictures Inc. See more »
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Technical Specs


See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Film debut of Francine Everett. See more »


Featured in Frankie Manning: Ambassador of the Lindy Hop (2010) See more »


Lift Every Voice and Sing
Written by James Weldon Johnson (as James Weldon) and Rosamond Johnson (as J. Rosamond Johnson)
Sung as background at the high school graduation
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the better "curiosities"
31 October 2000 | by jaykay-10See all my reviews

Clearly, any film starring a sports hero is designed to exploit the fame and celebrity of that athlete. If we expect a convincing performance by an amateur (actor) among professionals, we are perhaps asking for too much - even if, ironically, the actor is playing himself, or something close to it. The once-in-a-century exception was, of course, Muhammad Ali - a natural performer in any venue.

This picture, an obviously low-budget production without major studio backing, lets us see the legendary Henry Armstrong in the most hackneyed of boxing stories. Yet he does not embarrass himself, and the picture has genuine entertainment value. The story plays "around" him, with some effective acting by several members of the cast, moments of comedy consistent with the tone of the story, and even two musical numbers. Especially moving is the sequence late in the picture which repeatedly cuts from the boxing arena to the church, and back.

Be prepared to make allowances, and you are likely to enjoy this film. It compares very favorably to a similar picture made a year earlier, "Spirit of Youth," starring Joe Louis.

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