34 user 11 critic

Boom Town (1940)

Passed | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | 30 August 1940 (USA)
2:31 | Trailer

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Two buddies who rise from fly-by-night wildcatters to oil tycoons over a twenty year period both love the same woman.



(screen play), (based on a story by)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Karen Vanmeer
Luther Aldrich
Harry Compton
Harmony Jones
Marion Martin ...
Spanish Eva
Joe Yule ...
Ed Murphy
Tom Murphy
Roy Gordon ...
Richard Lane ...
Ass't. District Attorney
Casey Johnson ...
Little Jack
Baby Quintanilla ...


Buddies Big John McMasters and Square John Sand are fast-talking, wisecracking wildcatters who manage to con enough equipment and capital to develop their own oil fields, but their friendship is put to the test when Big John inadvertently falls in love with Elizabeth, Square John's longtime girlfriend. Eventually their friendship and partnership comes to an end on the flip of a coin. Years later, when Big John's interest in the beautiful Karen Vanmeer threatens his marriage too, Square John intervenes in an effort to save the marriage of his former friend - even if it means ruining him financially. Written by G. Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


GABLE and TRACY...buddies in battle! COLBERT and LAMARR...rivals in love! See more »


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

30 August 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Boom Town!  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,614,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Rita Hayworth did a screen test for the role of Karen Vanmeer. See more »


When Clark Gable rides the donkey at the rodeo he is holding a balloon, in the first wide shot the balloon is gone, but reappears again in the next close up. See more »


Man abandoned by Whitey: [Whitey rises from table to follow Clark Gable; man she was with tries to restrain her] Hey, wait a minute! Where're ya goin'?
Whitey: Let go of me! I pick my own posies, jughead!
See more »


Referenced in Quicker'n a Wink (1940) See more »


After You've Gone
(1918) (uncredited)
Music by Turner Layton
Lyrics by Henry Creamer
Played in the dance hall and sung by Marion Martin
See more »

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User Reviews

Gable's most personal role
9 January 2004 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

When one thinks of roles identified with Clark Gable, Boom Town does not immediately come to mind. Yet this film, done at what most would consider the high water mark of Gable's career (after Gone With the Wind and before Carole Lombard's death) was possibly his most personal role. Before he was actor Gable worked in the oil fields with his widowed father. After that he decided acting was a far easier way to make a living. But he actually lived the life that he and Spencer Tracy portrayed in Boom Town. He brings more to the part of Big John McMasters than any other part he ever did. I'm sure he was an unofficial technical consultant on the film.

The film is also an ode to laissez faire capitalism, maybe one of the most right wing films ever done in Hollywood. You will never hear Herbert Hoover's rugged individualism better justified than in Spencer Tracy's speech to the jury in Gable's anti-trust trial. One half of the script writing team was James Edward Grant who later did many of the more propagandistic films that John Wayne did.

Frank Morgan is his usual befuddled self, he had a patent on those parts. Claudette Colbert is fine as the woman both men love and Hedy Lamarr was her usual alluring self.

Great entertainment all around.

33 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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