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Prosperity

Prosperity(1932)

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Remind Me

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FULL SYNOPSIS

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In 1925, bank president Maggie Warren is ecstatic that her son John is marrying Helen Praskins, the daughter of her friend and rival Lizzie Praskins, and turns the bank presidency over to him. Six years later, the Depression has made the banking business difficult, but Helen, John and their two children are still happy, Lizzie's constant meddling notwithstanding. Because she fears a general bank failure, Lizzie takes her money out of John's bank, and inadvertently creates a disturbance which other depositors interpret as a lack of confidence in his bank. When word spreads that Lizzie is withdrawing her money, it causes a run, even though she soon changes her mind and redeposits the cash so she won't be robbed. In a panic, John tries to get bonds back which he invested in a new building without his mother's knowledge, but Holland, the man who has invested them, won't return them. Maggie talks to her depositors, who promise to stick by her, but she has to sell everything just to keep them going for the six months that John says it will take to get their bonds back. Lizzie invites the entire family to live with her, and despite John's reluctance, Maggie agrees, but quickly turns into Lizzie's unpaid housekeeper. Unable to stand Lizzie's bossiness any longer, John leaves, but Helen refuses to go. Maggie soon joins her son at his rented room after a violent argument with Lizzie. Maggie then goes to work in Higgins' grocery store and encourages John, who is certain that the building will not be finished on time and their bonds will be forfeited. While Maggie convinces the townspeople to barter and trade instead of using cash, John forges a stop completion notice on the building to save his mother's bonds, but Holland and his associate Knapp have plans to keep the bonds for themselves and try to slow down the work. Maggie, however, gets the idea of putting all of the unemployed men in town to work on the building and paying them in trade, and the building is completed on time. As she is about to reopen the bank, however, she discovers that Holland has run off with the money. Then, when Maggie finds out about the forgery, she and John quarrel and he leaves town. Despondent, Maggie thinks that the only way out of ruining the bank's customers is to kill herself so that her $100,000 life insurance money can help save their deposits. Meanwhile, John finds Holland and Knapp and fights them to get the bonds back. He calls his mother to tell her, but she does not answer because she is about to shoot herself. He then calls Lizzie to ask her to give Maggie the message and Lizzie arrives just before Maggie uses the gun. Because Lizzie will not leave, Maggie decides to take ant poison instead, but, unknown to her, it is really "Prunolax," an elixir which Lizzie earlier had put in an ant poison bottle to prevent Maggie from wasting it. Lizzie thinks that Maggie really has taken poison though and they tearfully make up, after which John arrives with the good news. When Lizzie discovers exactly what Maggie has swallowed, she tells the story about the Prunolax to Maggie, who is happy to be alive. When the family talks about moving into a house with sixteen bedrooms and a marble bathroom, however, she is painfully reminded of something she must do first.