Review: ‘Boom Town’

Unlike many large-budgeted productions carrying multi-star setups that tend either to costume background or sophistication for limited appeal, this one (with an outlay of around $2 million) breaks out with a dashing, rough-and-tumble yarn of modern adventure. Interspersed is romance and love interest of more than minor importance.

Unlike many large-budgeted productions carrying multi-star setups that tend either to costume background or sophistication for limited appeal, this one (with an outlay of around $2 million) breaks out with a dashing, rough-and-tumble yarn of modern adventure. Interspersed is romance and love interest of more than minor importance.

Boom Town is the tale of wildcat oil drilling, with fortunes won and lost just as quickly as a roller coaster dips and rises. It centers around the partnership of Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy, a couple of tough, fighting, two-fisted oil drillers who know all the angles. After teaming up with Gable’s short bankroll and Tracy’s wildcat lease, and hi-jacking a drilling rig and equipment, they hit saltwater – but on the second try hit a gusher. They split and go separate ways, each taking the bumps of riches and poverty along the eight-year stretch.

Tracy and Gable share prominence in splitting responsibilities of carrying the picture along. Little to choose between the pair – each handles his tailor-made role in excellent fashion. Colbert catches attention as the sincere and loving wife who shares Gable’s fortunes and misfortunes with courage and a smile. Hedy Lamarr is of minor importance in the overall story as the New York siren who is flagged from stealing Gable from his wife by some effective manipulations by Tracy.

Boom Town

Production

M-G-M. Director Jack Conway; Producer Sam Zimbalist; Screenplay John Lee Mahin, James Edward Grant; Camera Harold Rosson; Editor Blanche Sewell; Music Franz Waxman; Art Director Cedric Gibbons, Eddie Imazu

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1940. Running time: 117 MIN.

With

Clark Gable Spencer Tracy Claudette Colbert Hedy Lamarr Frank Morgan Lionel Atwill
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