“You’re my girl, see? And you always will be — even if I have to lick you to prove it.”
Two aspiring oil barons — “Big” John McMasters (Clark Gable) and “Square” John Sand (Spencer Tracy) — become business partners, but find their relationship strained when Gable marries Tracy’s would-be love interest (Claudette Colbert). Gable’s ongoing affair with a beautiful charmer (Hedy Lamarr) in New York causes loyal Tracy to do what he can to save Colbert from heartbreak — including wooing Lamarr himself.
- Clark Gable Films
- Claudette Colbert Films
- Frank Morgan Films
- Hedy Lamarr Films
- Lionel Atwill Films
- Love Triangle
- Marital Problems
- Oil Drilling
- Spencer Tracy Films
The perils of “wildcatting” (drilling for oil in unknown fields) nearly take second place to the pitfalls of loving another man’s wife in this sprawling tale of frenemies battling for both the heart of the same woman, and bragging rights as oil barons. It’s a true challenge to keep track of who’s up or down oil-wise at any given time, given how often their fortunes shift — but what’s not confusing is the endurance of Tracy’s thankless love for Colbert, whose similarly thankless love for Gable is met with repeated infidelities.
Lamarr is beautiful eye candy as the primary rival for Gable’s affections:
… and Frank Morgan plays a spluttering equipment financier whose loyalties waver as often as his clients’ fortunes.
The most engaging scenes in this flick are those of oil fires raging away — yikes!
Note: If this subject interests you at all, be sure to check out the 1992 Pulitzer Prize winning book The Prize: the Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power, which was turned into an 8-hour miniseries documentary that is well worth watching.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Good historical recreation of early oil towns
- The terrifying oil fire scene
No; this one isn’t must-see except for diehard fans of the stars.