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Boom Town Details


Clark Gable is "Big John" and Spencer Tracy is "Square John"; both "Johns" seek their fortunes in the Texas oil fields. They simultaneously fall in love with Claudette Colbert, 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 wife Colbert for Hedy Lamarr, the "been around" companion of businessman Lionel Atwill. "Square John", who still carries a torch for Colbert but doesn't want to see her heart broken, tries to buy off Lamarr; when this fails, he decides to ruin "Big John" financially. But when "Big John" is charged with violating anti-trust rules by the crooked Atwill, "Square John" rushes to the side of his old pal. Both men end up where they started--broke but happy. "Big John" returns to faithful Colbert, while "Square John" stands by with an ear-to-ear grin. Boom Town was the last film to co-star Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy; though Tracy was fond of Gable, he resented playing "eunuch" in their on-screen romantic triangles. Claudette Colbert's scenes with Clark Gable are pleasant enough, but the sparks that had ignited their scenes in Gable are largely absent here. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:August 30, 1940


Awarded by
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Douglas Shearer Best Special Effects 1940 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Arnold A. Gillespie Best Special Effects 1940 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Harold Hal Rosson Best Black and White Cinematography 1940 Nominee


Clark Gable
as Big John McMasters
Spencer Tracy
as Square John Sand
Claudette Colbert
as Betsy Bartlett
Hedy Lamarr
as Karen Vanmeer
Frank Morgan
as Luther Aldrich
Lionel Atwill
as Harry Compton
Chill Wills
as Harmony Jones
Marion Martin
as Whitey
Minna Gombell
as Spanish Eva
Horace Murphy
as Tom Murphy
Roy Gordon
as McCreery
Richard Lane
as Assistant District Attorney
George Lessey
as Judge
Sara Haden
as Miss Barnes
Frank Orth
as Barber
Frank McGlynn, Sr.
as Deacon
Curt Bois
as Ferdie
Dick Curtis
as Hiring boss


Jack Conway
Sam Zimbalist
James Edward Grant
Screen Story
John Lee Mahin
Elwood Bredell
Harold Hal Rosson
Daniele Amfitheatrof
Composer (Music Score)
Franz Waxman
Composer (Music Score)
Blanche Sewell
Paul Landres
Cedric Gibbons
Art Director
Eddie Imazu
Art Director
Edwin B. Willis
Set Designer
Gile Steele
Costume Designer
Costume Designer
Arnold A. Gillespie
Special Effects
Horace Hough
First Assistant Director