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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5706/film-page-boom-town/

Film Page: Boom Town

October 2, 2006 by

You would think that given how important commerce and entrepreneurship have been in America, there would be many films celebrating the entrepreneur. After several years of working on the film page and receiving hundreds of recommendations for films I had come up with a grand total of one on entrepreneurship: the wonderful Tucker. Thanks to an astute reader, I have now added one more, Boom Town. The paucity of films on this important topic, though, do not take away from just how glorious these two films are. What I love about both of them is that though they both highlight government oppression of entrepreneurship it is not their major theme. Instead the bulk of their running time as well as their tone is devoted to entrepreneurship itself: the joy, excitement, passion and genius.

Boom Town
(1940)

A marvelous and fun ode to entrepreneurship starring Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy as two wildcatters that take extreme risks hunting for oil in 1918 Texas. The roles of risk, capital and entrepreneurial insight are all portrayed wonderfully. The cherry on top is when competitors invoke the Sherman Antitrust Act to go after a company they can’t defeat fair and square in the marketplace (imagine that!)

The courtroom speech at the end includes an argument indicating how private owners of capital are motivated to wisely manage natural resources(!) and this wonderful tribute to entrepreneurs: “McMasters is a wildcatter. If it wasn’t for automobiles he’d be driving a covered wagon. It’s always been his breed that has opened up the country and made it what it is. So now, I’m wondering… Is it getting to be out of line in these Unites States for a man like him to make a million dollars with his brains and with his hands? Because if that’s true, then we’d better rewrite this land-of-opportunity stuff.” Did Hollywood really make this film? Wow!

{ 6 comments }

Bryan October 2, 2006 at 3:36 pm

That amazes me. My local library has the movie and I fully intend on renting it tonight! Thanks for the lead.

coyote October 2, 2006 at 4:07 pm

Wow, this is great.

It fails the “great cinema” test but I thought the movie Interstate 60 explored some pretty interesting topics on freedom and the state.

Vanmind October 2, 2006 at 4:18 pm

Yeah, Boom Town is cool. The best part is: after rising up from nothing, striking it rich, losing it all, striking it rich, losing it all again, striking it rich again, and then having would-be competitors sic the government on them, the very last scene shows the main characters walking, arm in arm, toward the horizon of a nation where monetary rewards are secondary to the unhindered pursuit of happiness.

Gdreer October 2, 2006 at 6:41 pm

How about Fountainhead?

Chris Meisenzahl October 3, 2006 at 1:35 am

Thanks for the heads-up on this.

Bretigne October 3, 2006 at 7:05 am

How about “The Aviator”? (Leo DiCaprio playing Howard Hughes). The courtroom scene is unbelievable.

And for entrepreneurial adventure minus the politics, check out “Tampopo”. Also, “A Taxing Woman” also by Itami — a hilarious portrait of a Japanese tax collector.

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