Prosperity (1932)

76 or 87 mins | Comedy-drama | 18 November 1932

Director:

Sam Wood

Cinematographer:

Leonard Smith

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

A pre-production chart in HF credits Ralph Shugart with sound, however, Fred Morgan is credited after the film began production. According to news items in FD and HR , Leo McCarey was the film's director when production began in Mar 1932. A Jun 1932 HR news item noted that Willard Mack and Zelda Sears had worked on the film's first continuity and were brought back for retakes. Added to the script staff at that time were Sylvia Thalberg, Frank Butler, Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett. Mack, Goodrich and Hackett were not included in the onscreen credits or in reviews and the extent of their participation in the completed script has not been determined.
       In Oct 1932, HR noted that because "the front office" at M-G-M did not like portions of the film, "photographed some time ago," retakes were started, after which the studio decided to reshoot the entire picture with Sam Wood as the director. An ad for the film that appeared in FD just after the 1932 presidential election included the slogan "Give America Prosperity Mr. Roosevelt, Hooray for our new president!"
       The picture marked the final joint appearance of actresses Marie Dressler and Polly Moran, who first co-starred in the 1927 M-G-M comedy The Callahans and the Murphys (see entty above). Most of the actresses' nine joint appearances featured them in the familiar roles of constantly arguing friends and ... More Less

A pre-production chart in HF credits Ralph Shugart with sound, however, Fred Morgan is credited after the film began production. According to news items in FD and HR , Leo McCarey was the film's director when production began in Mar 1932. A Jun 1932 HR news item noted that Willard Mack and Zelda Sears had worked on the film's first continuity and were brought back for retakes. Added to the script staff at that time were Sylvia Thalberg, Frank Butler, Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett. Mack, Goodrich and Hackett were not included in the onscreen credits or in reviews and the extent of their participation in the completed script has not been determined.
       In Oct 1932, HR noted that because "the front office" at M-G-M did not like portions of the film, "photographed some time ago," retakes were started, after which the studio decided to reshoot the entire picture with Sam Wood as the director. An ad for the film that appeared in FD just after the 1932 presidential election included the slogan "Give America Prosperity Mr. Roosevelt, Hooray for our new president!"
       The picture marked the final joint appearance of actresses Marie Dressler and Polly Moran, who first co-starred in the 1927 M-G-M comedy The Callahans and the Murphys (see entty above). Most of the actresses' nine joint appearances featured them in the familiar roles of constantly arguing friends and rivals. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
24 Mar 32
p. 20.
Film Daily
9 Nov 32
p. 3. (ad)
Film Daily
26 Nov 32
p. 4.
HF
3 Feb 32
p. 8.
HF
30 Apr 32
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Nov 31
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jun 32
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 32
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Nov 32
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
12 Nov 32
p. 35.
New York Times
26 Nov 32
p. 35.
VarB
4-Nov-32
---
Variety
29 Nov 32
p. 18.
DETAILS
Release Date:
18 November 1932
Production Date:
11963
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp.
Copyright Date:
14 November 1932
Copyright Number:
LP3414
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
76 or 87
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

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 ... +


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. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.