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Boom Town (1940)

Passed  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Romance  |  30 August 1940 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 2,081 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 11 critic

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

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(screen play), (based on a story by)
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Title: Boom Town (1940)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

Where Men Are Rough And Tough . . . And Like Their Women The Same Way ! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 August 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Boom Town!  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,614,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Quotes

Hiring boss: [about Big John] Why don't you let me bust him, boss?
Jonathan Sand: [restaining him] I'd rather have you keep your health.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Century of Black Cinema (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Polly Wolly Doodle
(uncredited)
Composer unknown
Played over the opening credits and as background
Sung and hummed at various times by Clark Gable, Chill Wills and Claudette Colbert
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great Stars in Entertaining Saga
13 June 2007 | by (Alexandria, VA) – See all my reviews

Portraying a friendship similar to the one they shared in the earlier "San Francisco," Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy play two oilmen or wildcatters in "Boom Town," an entertaining saga directed by Jack Conway. Gable is the colorful Big John McMasters, a Rhett Butler from Texas, who lives large and romances big. Tracy is the more solid, down-to-earth Jonathan Sand, who is Gable's moral conscience, much like he was in "San Francisco." The pair meet cute while heading in opposite directions on a narrow board walkway across a muddy street. Despite a damp start, the two men bond, and their friendship endures for years through fights, jealousy, and competition over business and women, particularly Claudette Colbert. The mud is barely washed off their clothing when Gable unwittingly steals Colbert from Tracy, and the jilted platonic lover carries a torch for his lost love throughout the film. When not womanizing or swindling, Gable and Tracy make and lose several fortunes separately and together without breaking a sweat. Oil gushers, well fires, and fistfights, the action wanders all over the MGM back lot from Texas to South America to New York.

Gable anchors the film with his larger-than-life personality, while Tracy underplays in deference to his more charismatic co-star. Although re-teaming the Oscar-winning leads of "It Happened One Night" must have seemed like a brilliant idea at the time, Colbert, unfortunately, often seems out of place in "Boom Town." Her manners, poise, and dress do not mesh with the Texas oil fields or the South American hovels. She is on firmer ground as the well-dressed lady of the manor. The sight of perfectly made-up Colbert scrubbing clothes on a washboard with a big grin on her face strains the story's credibility. Although the enigmatic Hedy Lamarr has a flawless face and incomparable beauty, she rarely wrinkles her professionally applied cosmetics to show any trace of an emotion. However, she is certainly believable as the object of any man's lust and physically perfect as an "other woman." Fortunately, a fine cast of supporting players, such as Frank Morgan, Chill Wills, and Lionel Atwill, surround the leading stars and further enhance the lively proceedings.

First class production values, a fast-moving story, and appealing stars make "Boom Town" a solid entertainment, if not a masterpiece.


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