Boom Town (Sous-titres français) [Import]
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There may be a pair of impressive ladies in the cast, but don't be fooled--Boom Town is a cool love-hate buddy movie from the get-go. Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy are oil wildcatters who meet during a Texas strike, take an instant dislike to each other, go into business together, tussle over a woman, break up, reunite, etc., etc. The film spans years, and various parts of the continent, as each man gets rich and goes bust with regularity. Claudette Colbert, re-teaming with It Happened One Night co-star Gable, is the woman who comes between them, and Hedy Lamarr presents a more exotic temptation later on. Another star here is the dialogue by veteran screenwriter John Lee Mahin, which--despite the wild, credulity-bending twists in the story--is chockfull of salty, slangy talk. The early scenes in the Texas town are crammed with believable oil jargon and great period touches (such as an entrepreneur who charges money to walk on planks across a muddy street). Director Jack Conway (Saratoga) gets the roughneck appeal of the material, and a sequence involving an oil fire is a knockout. Gable and Tracy, who had worked together so memorably in San Francisco, are a terrific match: Gable is all straight-ahead gusto, declaiming every line, as Tracy underplays to crafty effect. Nice supporting parts for Frank Morgan and Chill Wills span the entire movie, which ends, curiously, in a courtroom and a speech about capitalism. --Robert Horton
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Directed by Jack Conway
Clark Gable as "Big John" McMasters and Spencer Tracy is "Square John" Sand both seek their fortunes in the Texas oil fields. They simultaneously fall in love with Elizabeth, but it's "Big John" who wins out. When both Johns grow rich on oil, "Big John" lets money go to his head, and he begins neglecting his wife for the yummy Karen, the precocious companion of businessman Harry Compton. "Square John", who still carries a torch for Elizabeth but doesn't want to see her heart broken, tries to buy off Karen; when this fails, he decides to ruin "Big John" financially. But when "Big John" is charged with violating anti-trust rules by the crooked Compton, "Square John" rushes to the side of his old pal.
Oscar Nominated for Best Cinematography (black & white) & Best Special Effects.
Special footnote: -- Clark Gable was anxious to do the film because his father had been an oil rigger, and Gable himself had worked on oil rigs in Oklahoma before becoming an actor ~ Boom Town saw the re-teaming of Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable - back together on screen for the first time since the scintillating 'It Happened One Night' (1934) ~ This is the third (and last) pairing of those two "mega-stars": Clark Gable & Spencer Tracy. They were to appear together on two previous occasions - 'San Francisco' (1936) & 'Test Pilot' (1938).
1. Jack Conway (Director)
Date of Birth: 17 July 1887 - Graceville, Minnesota
Date of Death: 11 October 1952 - Pacific Palisades, California
2.Read more ›
The buddy relationship of Gable and Tracy was great. The love triangle between Gable, Tracy, and Colbert was good. But why oh why do we have to go on a bit to have now married Gable cheat on wife Colbert with Hedy Lamarr? First off, I thought that was a terrible plot development, period. Why would he do that? Why was this necessary? No. Bad idea. What really sealed the fate of this being a wrong-o is the fact that Hedy is an awful actress. Yes, she's a beauty all right, but especially in the company of real fine competent acting talent, she stuck out like a sore thumb.
So, "Boom Town" was quite a disappointment for me, after years of expectation. Sometimes two plus two does not equal four, if your script is not good. Catch Gable-Tracy and Gable-Colbert in their separate better films.
On one level this movie is about wild catters hunting for oil, but in reality it is about love and friendship. The oil industry actually serves as a backdrop, and after the first few scenes, it serves merely as a backdrop to the ups and downs of the main two characters. To be honest, it might be hard to watch if the three leads weren't played by such superb actors, and if excellent character actors weren't filling key minor roles. Luckily, Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, and especially Spencer Tracy make this film truly worth watching.
I have trouble with Clark Gable in most of his films. He always has a super macho attitude towards women, carries a chip the size of North Dakota on his shoulder, and is more beset by false pride than any actor in the history of film. He also comes across as frequently pretty stupid, a fact emphasized in George Clooney's imitation of him in O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? Still, he did possess an undeniable screen presence. He and Claudette Colbert do not here have the kind of chemistry that they had in IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, but they nevertheless match up well onscreen.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
One of the earliest movies made in Hollywood using some impressive state of the art special effects. I think it's a great movie, especially if you love any Tracy/Gable movies.Published 8 months ago by Cattieluver
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... Read morePublished on Dec 18 2001 by Robert H. Chaney
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