Boom Town Reviews
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.
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?"
[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]