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(1932 b 87')

En: 5 Ed: 5

A woman retires to let her son run the bank, but her friend starts a panic that results in their living with the friend.

In 1925 Maggie Warren (Marie Dressler) loans Ezra Higgins (Frank Darien) $5,000 and makes her son John Warren (Norman Foster) bank president. John asks Maggie about investing their government bonds, but she says no. At the wedding of John and Helen Praskins (Anita Paige) Maggie and Lizzie Praskins (Polly Moran) argue over ministers and the word "obey" while the mayor weds them.

In 1931 John and Helen are happy with two children. Maggie, Lizzie, and John dress as Santa Claus, and Maggie gives Helen a fur. Lizzie wants to withdraw her money, and her shouting attracts attention. Maggie warns her of robbery; Lizzie is frightened and brings her money back. Panic causes a run on the bank. John calls Holland (John Miljan) for the bonds but can't get them for six months. Maggie learns that John took them and reassures people that the bank will open again in six months. She promises to sell her property. Maggie's furniture is sold. John refuses to live with Lizzie, but Maggie persuades him. Maggie cooks. Lizzie puts the poison label on her castor oil to keep Maggie from taking it. After an argument, John leaves; but Helen stays. Maggie takes Cissy to the barber, who cuts off all Buster's hair. John tells Holland the building will cost more.

Maggie leaves Lizzie and joins John, who says their bonds may be forfeited. Maggie works in Ezra's store. Lizzie won't pay cash, and Maggie takes her spare tire. Maggie organizes bartering. Holland gets John to forge a signature on the building completion. Maggie tells John and Holland they can employ people to finish the building. She gets them working, and the building is completed. Maggie tells John that Holland left with the bonds; but when John tells her of his forgery, she can do nothing. Maggie asks Lizzie to take her dog and says the bank will open. A boy asks Maggie for $2 for his mother, and she gives him her ring. On a train John fights Holland and his partner and runs off with the bonds. John calls Maggie, who does not answer the phone. So John calls Lizzie to tell Maggie. Lizzie goes to Maggie but does not tell her. Maggie drinks from the poison bottle. John comes in with the bonds; but Lizzie shows Maggie it was oil. People cheer Maggie, who gives a speech about being happy in less luxury.

This Depression story combines slapstick humor of Dressler and Moran with dramatic power from the compassion and enterprise of the strong Maggie, showing why Marie Dressler was one of the most popular actresses of this era.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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