Tennessee Champ

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Tennessee Champ
Keenan Wynn in Tennessee Champ trailer.jpg
Keenan Wynn from the trailer
Directed by Fred M. Wilcox
Screenplay by Art Cohn
Based onThe Lord in His Corner and other stories by Eustace Cockrell
Produced bySol Baer Fielding
Cinematography George J. Folsey
Edited by Ben Lewis
Music by Conrad Salinger
Distributed by Loew's, Inc.
Release date
February 25, 1954
Running time
73 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$548,000 [1]
Box office$769,000 [1]

Tennessee Champ is a 1954 American drama film with strong Christian overtones directed by Fred M. Wilcox and starring Shelley Winters, Keenan Wynn, Dewey Martin, and Charles Bronson


Mounted as a title to fill out double and triple bills (a B-movie), Tennessee Champ was one of several films Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer shot in its pet process of Ansco Color, a ruddy-looking process employed on the same year's Brigadoon .

The film marked a return to Hollywood for star Shelley Winters, who hadn't appeared in a film in almost two years because of her marriage to Vittorio Gassman (which ended in June 1954) and the birth of their child, Vittoria. The lull came just as she seemed to be on an upswing after roles in Winchester '73 (1950), Phone Call from a Stranger (1952), and her breakthrough tragic performance in A Place in the Sun (1951).


Sarah Wurble's husband Willy is the larceny-inclined manager of an illiterate, and very religious boxer from Tennessee named Danny. Gifted with a powerful punch and a nickname that gives the film its title, Danny mistakenly believes he killed a man defending himself in a street brawl, and goes on the lam as a prizefighter.

His Christian convictions turn out to be both a source of inspiration and, ultimately, conflict when Willy urges him to throw a fight (while mistakenly fearing Willy will turn him in on the murder charge if he doesn't). Credulity flies out of the window when Danny discovers the man he is to take on in the fixed fight is actually the man he thought he killed, Sixty Jubel, The "Biloxi Blockbuster." Danny's example of unwavering faith causes Willy to rethink his sinful ways.



According to MGM records the film earned $555,000 in the US and Canada and $214,000 elsewhere, making a loss to the studio of $189,000. [1]

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  1. 1 2 3 The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.