Boom Town Reviews

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Super Reviewer
November 22, 2008
All star quartet perform well in this robust entry from classic Hollywood.
Super Reviewer
½ July 14, 2007
yowza!
Super Reviewer
April 22, 2008
Great Film!!! I don't think Hollywood allows a film about OIL! to be made under 2 hours. Gable and Tracy shine together as always.
½ July 16, 2009
A fine classic with a once in a lifetime cast. Any movie with Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Hedy Lamarr and Spencer Tracy has to be worth watching. Good MGM production, not a particularly original story, but it's done extremely well.
June 11, 2009
Boom Town (1940)

This is a movie about the boom and bust fortunes of oil wildcatters, and their women. Big John McMasters (Clark Gable) meets up with Square John Sand (Spencer Tracy) in their famous wooden plank over the muddy street scene. They partner up on a good potential oil rig, and then Big John steals Square John's girl, Betsy Bartlett (Claudette Colbert).

The first half of this movie is the grubby, hard work part, where the second half comes off as a soap opera. Big John strikes it rich and becomes a big oil tycoon while Square John comes back in like his conscience trying to fix things for Betsy. There's a dalliance with a socialite/company spy, Karen Vanmeer (Hedy Lamarr), but you know that Big John really only loves Betsy. There's also a courtroom finale where Square John explains why we need crazy wildcatters like big John.

I loved Frank Morgan's work as Luther Aldrich, the supply and rigging guy that these two men always went back to when they were flat broke. There was also Chill Wills as Deputy "Hominy" Jones, the talented cook that could make rabbit taste like fillet minion.
½ July 6, 2008
Wildcaters, Big John McMasters (Clark Gable) and Square John Sand (Spencer Tracy) have a love/hate friendship. This is a soap opera in a sense: a foursome love squabble. The film drags towards the middle but the performances of Gable, Tracy and Lamar are colorful. The oil storyline is somewhat hard to view in a lighthearted matter with a modern eye, even if you take into account the time period the film was made.
November 12, 2007
Just a real feel good movie. Nothing too serious and again, Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy prove their greatness.
½ March 22, 2015
Okay story is elevated by a strong cast, although I'm still not a big Clark Gable fan. Gable and Spencer Tracy are a couple of cowboy/would be oilmen looking to strike it rich. There's also Claudette Colbert to add a love triangle to the plot and also Hedy Lamarr as a high powered big city businesswoman the two meet up with after they strike it rich and move to the big city. There's really nothing original about the ups and downs in the story, but cat makes the film entertaining enough, although I wish there was more Lamar in the film. I still wish that Lamar had appeared in better films. Her filmography seems littered with films like this, which featured major stars and quality behind the scenes talent, but were often of lower quality and none of which are considered classics, just like this film.
February 16, 2014
Clark Gable has outstanding rapport both with Claudette Colbert, whom he was with in It Happened One Night, and Spencer Tracy, whom he had acted with before in the disaster flick San Francisco, in this fine film which would make an excellent double-bill with There Will Be Blood, for the price of being a prospector of black gold in early 20th-century America. Very enjoyable and thoroughly recommended.
July 27, 2014
just love to see Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert reunited on screen again :)
½ July 5, 2013
Why should me and you have an argument? One of us may get hurt.

Big John McMasters and Square John Sand are two aspiring oil men looking for a big investment. Neither of them know they are in love with the same girl. The two men strike it rich and Big John gets the girl, quickly ending their friendship and having the two men go in separate directions with their riches. John Sand invests his money well and turns his riches into more riches while John blows his money putting him and his wife in a bad spot. Will the two men reconcile their differences and work together to find riches again?

"Rabbit stew again?"

Jack Conway, director of Libeled Lady, A Tale of Two Cities, Viva Villa, Saratoga, One New York Night, The Girl from Missouri, and Just a Gigolo, delivers Boom Town. The storyline for this picture is fun to watch unfold. The character development is excellent and the script is well written. The cast delivers awesome performances and includes Spencer Tracy, Clarke Gable, Claudette Colbert, Lionell Atwill, and Frank Morgan.

"You can always say you were a big man once."

I am a huge Spencer Tracy fan. This is far from my favorite picture of his, but it is very good. His character is very dynamic and the chemistry between him and Gable throughout the film was perfect (both during the good times and bad). I strongly recommend seeing this picture!

"What do people think I am, a good fairy?"

Grade: B-
May 13, 2013
I personally thought that this was an amazing Romantic and Adventurous film. This is now one of my favorite films that I've ever seen. It had a large list of very well known stars. It was set in a western and modern (for the 1940's) setting. It even had a couple of scandalous points. I really have never seen anything that has kept my attention so well throughout an entire film. I thought that the film was going to be boring because it looked like an old western (which I find cheesy and boring) but then I recognized the voices and noticed who the actors were and I was entranced immediately and I was absolutely amazed at how well I enjoyed it. It was kind of like a western but it ended up even better than that. It ended up as an adventure.
December 4, 2012
Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy are oil men, searching for the big strike, and meet Frank Morgan, who makes a wizard of oz joke or two, and finances them. The woman in the triangle is Claudette Colbert, and the femme fatale is Hedy LaMarr.
½ February 3, 2012
Boom Town is an amazing film. It is about two buddies who rise from fly-by-night wildcatters to oil tycoons over a twenty year period both love the same woman. Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy give incredible performances. The screenplay is well written. Jack Conway did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the adventure and romance. Boom Town is a must see.
April 9, 2011
Epic drama showing how the rogues of west got their wealth and moved it to big bugs New York, not forgetting female trouble. Still greatly entertaining.
April 11, 2010
A clash of the stars: this film is viewable because the stars are shining. Allusions to Gables' real illegitimate. Enjoy!
½ December 10, 2007
I thought Gable and Spencer Tracy had good chemistry and Tracy is especially fantastic. It's obvious Tracy is a better actor but Gable is great in chewing up the screen.
½ June 18, 2005
A fine classic with a once in a lifetime cast. Any movie with Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Hedy Lamarr and Spencer Tracy has to be worth watching. Good MGM production, not a particularly original story, but it's done extremely well.
½ November 7, 2004
Shorty and Big John go into the oil business together in 1918 Texas. After a couple of false starts, lo and behold, they strike it rich and soon they've got 5 derricks a-spurtin'. Big John spends his night a-boozin' and a-womanizin' in town while Shorty writes letters to Betsy, his girl back home. One night, Big John meets, ahem, Elizabeth, shows her a night on the [color=dimgray]town and they marry before dawn. Turns out Betsy and Elizabeth are the same person. [/color]

[color=dimgray]I'll pause now so you can drop your jaw and slap your face in shock. Fell better? Good.[/color]

[color=#696969]Shorty and Big John part ways and go into business separately. First one is rich and the other is broke. Then vice versa, back and forth until they finally slug it out in the end. Then there's some courtroom scene and everyone lives happily ever after.[/color]

[color=#696969]Standard melodrama from MGM in the 1940s. At least it would be, excepting that Shorty, Big John and Betsy are played by Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert with Hedy Lamarr, Frank Morgan and Chill Wills lending considerable support. The actors give the whole picture enough professionalism and dignity to make to whole thing believable. And highly enjoyable.[/color]

[color=#696969][i]Boom Town[/i] was well on its way to a solid 8. The scenes where Gable told Colbert that she belonged to him made me particularly swoony. Then it happened. The brawl between Tracy and Gable. It was well-edited put really poorly staged, even for 1940. And everything kinda falls apart with a courtroom scene featuring a speech by Tracy that made me want to leap up and say, "Wow! I never knew large monopolizing corporations were such a force of good in the world!" in my best Hope Caldwell impersonation. So I had to drop it to a 7. C'est la vie. C'est la guerre.[/color]
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