Oil! The ebony lifeblood of American industry...and of mighty fortunes made and lost. In search of one of those black-gold fortunes, two bare-knuckle wildcatters dream, scheme, team up and square off in the make-or-break f... more »renzy of a Texas Boom Town. In this pyrotechnics-filled film classic, the only things bigger than the adventure are the four stars: screen giants Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy as the oilmen and Claudette Colbert and Hedy Lamarr as the women in their tumultuous lives. As the foursome struggle through the personal upheaval of love and loyalties, wealth comes a gusher ? and a rig bursts into a screen-filling inferno that could turn dreams to dust. No wonder Boom Town boomed at the box office, too, as the biggest moneymaker of 1940.« less
This is a great movie and filmed in 1941. The actors are great. Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable are best friends and Gable marries Colbert who is Spencer's girl. They split up over Gable romancing another woman. Tracy is still in love with Colbert and he wants to see her happy. Both Tracy and Gable make it big in the oil business. Tracy comes to see Colbert and Gable in New York and they have a son Jackie and Colbert is unhappy. Gable is having an affair with his secretary. and Tracy ends that and testifies in Gable's behalf in court.Both lose all their money and move together to California at the end to start over..
Hawks + Cukor
Kevin Killian | San Francisco, CA United States | 03/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I loved it, but I have to agree with the other reviewer who said that something gets lost when Clark Gable decides to go to New York and moves Claudette Colbert and little Jack with him.
The fun of the first part of the picture is replaced by an agonizing melodrama, which I also like, but it could have been two different pictures. The first movie would tell all about Gable and Tracy's friendship and their rivalry over Colbert--a kind of Howard Hawks male bonding movie. The key scene in this one would be the hotel room in the "boom town" in which Tracy and Gable strip to their underwear and Gable starts calling Tracy "Shorty," a nickname he hates but he loves to have Gable call him. The second film is more of a George Cukor story, for once Hedy Lamarr enters the picture as a Dutch lobbyist, this gives Claudette Colbert a whole lot more to worry about than scrubbing oil stains off Gable's overalls. Watching this picture recently I found myself more involved with Hedy Lamarr's role than I had been previously. She's not "brash" and "American" like the others actors (yes, I know Colbert is French but she has that American buzz thing going on) and she's languorous and moody, speaking of herself modestly as a "high class eavesdropper." But she's far from a bad actress, she's a bit more subtle than the other three (not to mention such certified hams as Chill Wills and Frank Morgan). Lamarr's scenes convince you that she was actually a very smart girl, didn't she invent the submarine or something in real life? You can see her brain turning over every possibility in Gable's long, lanky frame, and the glint in his dark eyes."
It is the closest real life movie of our early oil history
Kevin Killian | 04/07/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The movie has a great cast with some of the best actors that ever graced Hollywood. You have action from the very beginning that holds your attention throughout the whole movie. You can feel the excitment of every oil discovery and the disappointment of every dry-hole. Boom Town has a story which is simple and is brought together with non complicated characters. The people wre all individuals, with there own ideas and had the guts and determination to risk everything to make there dream come true. I like to think, that was the way people were like in those days. If you like great acting and a movie of old adventure with a story that cannot be repeated in these modern times, then Boom Town is for the old fashioned of heart with romance in the soul."
Update for the Boom Town DVD by Rags to Riches Reviewer
Michael Ziegler | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States | 07/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The new DVD sharpens the film up considerably. The Theatrical Trailer is included along with a cartoon and Hollywood short that don't have much of anything to do with this great film. As before, I mentioned that I had hoped that all the film would be put back together and although this is a little better there is still some cutting, including the Oklahoma Indian Land Deal Peace Pipe smoking scene which is still missing here. This film was the biggest money maker in 1940. It won an academy award for special effects and deserved it. Why can't we have the whole production on film? Anyway, I still recommend the film for entertainment value. They don't make films for pure fun anymore but this was one of them."
Best Hollywood Movie Ever About the Oil Industry
Robert H. Chaney | Houston, Texas USA | 12/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is without question the best Hollywood movie ever made about the oil industry. It truly captures the passion, excitement, adventure and pioneering spirit that has made wildcatting such a wonderful endeavor. It also portrays the extraordinary period in history that the early decades of the 20th century provided for the industry. A time when a man with a dream, desire, and some skill, combined with a bit of luck, could overnight become one of the richest and most successful people in America. Often after having persevered through a long period of bad luck and dry holes. The movie also appears to incorporate in fascinating pieces of the actual histories of a number of the great wildcatters of the era."
"Big John" Gable vs. "Shorty" Tracy.
W. Walker | westminster md | 05/04/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Along with "Call of the Wild", this is my favorite Gable film(not excluding "Gone with the Wind", made just a year before). They have the similarity that we are in a frontier wildcat situation, looking for some treasure: gold in one case, oil in another. There is an air of tremendous excitement and optimism, which Gable epitomizes. In one case, Gable has wisecracking Jack Oakie and later gorgeous Loretta Young as companions in the search for gold. In the other case, Gable teams up with an enthusiatic Spencer Tracy and later with gorgeous Claudette Colbert. This is one of the last films Gable made before the tragic death of his wife, Carol Lombard, and his entry into WW II. After that, Gable seemed a changed man on screen. It is also his most autobiographical film, as before his film career, he joined his father as an oil man. This film , an epic about wildcatting in the early oil industry, invites comparison to the later film "Tulsa", with the same theme. Native Oklahoman Chill Wills is the only actor I am aware of who was in both films. In both cases, the excitement begins with a gusher. Later, there is a spectacular oil field fire that threatens to wipe out fortunes. But the later film lacks anyone with the sizzling chemistry between Gable and Tracy, and also lacks the befuddled humor of Frank Morgan. However, If you enjoyed "Boomtown", you should check out "Tulsa". Susan Hayward is the tough-as-nails wildcat, with Chill Wills as the occasional narrator. But, it tends to drag in places. The initial meeting between Gable and Tracy, going opposite ways on a one way plank that serves as the pedestrian bridge across a muddy water-soaked road in a wildcat town, reminds us of the initial meeting between Robin Hood(Errol Flynn) and Little John(Alan Hale) in "The Adventures of Robin Hood", in which they try to knock each other off a log crossing a stream. In the present case, the incident ends in a draw, when they both dive into the mud as bullets begin to fly around them. Tracy's initial offense at being dubbed "Shorty" by Gable is soon grudgingly withdrawn when they share a room together. However, woe be to anyone else who parrots Gable in calling him Shorty! Comparison with the prior Gable film "Wife vs. Secretary" is also in order. In both films, Gable acquires a knockout single woman, who nearly costs him his marriage, as an indespensable assistant in his business. The difference is in the personalities of the women. Harlow's character respects his marriage enough not to encourage an affair, though appearances sometimes fuel rumors. In the present film, Heddy Lamarr's character is a snake who admits to Tracy that she is determined to seduce and marry Gable. Happily, Gable eventually dismisses Lamarr and wife Colbert forgives him. The ups and downs of Gable's and Tracy's oil businesses, together or separately, and their flip-flopping relationship constitute much of the substance of the film. Tracy makes a memorable epic speech at Gable's anti-trust trial, which serves as the basis of a reconsiliation and a hopeful final scene. This speech should have been quoted in T.J. DiLorenzo's book:"How Capitalism Saved America", in which he argues that anti-trust legislation has done much more harm than good. I wonder why the color DVD poster for the main feature shows Gable smooching Lamarr rather than Colbert? and why the color poster for the special features shows Tracy and Lamarr together(which occurred for only a few minutes in the film). Is Lamarr considered such a superior beauty that she totally outranks Colbert? Not to my mind. The special features include a look at some Hollywood stars, including Gable, in their off hours. The quality of the main feature on this DVD is excellent. "