Family or Finance (King Vidor's the Crowd)

Family or Finances

What makes a person successful: money, fame, family, happiness, glory, etc.?   One person’s definition of success will undoubtedly differ from the next.   Still, in an ideal world, shouldn’t happiness be the base stabilizing ones success?   The Oxford English Dictionary defines “good” success as, “The prosperous achievement of something attempted; the attainment of an object according to one’s desire: now often with particular reference to the attainment of wealth or position” (OED).   In this context happiness is not part of the equation.   So, by this reasoning an extremely wealthy, business savvy mogul, with an office on the highest floor, but recently divorced by his one true love, is successful.   We’ve established that success is not always coupled with happiness.   Therefore, the real question comes to light; can true happiness be defined as success?   I think so, and through this particular reasoning I would argue that John Sims, in King Vidor’s The Crowd, while floundering considerably throughout the film, by the end is successful in his own right.
As The Crowd kicks off I feel for Johnny boy immediately; he’s born on the 4th of July, at the turn of the century, and the narrator is comparing him to Washington and Lincoln.   If that is not pressure, I do not know what is.   Johnny does not know what he wants to be when he grows up, all he knows is he is going to be someone big, because that is what his father has told him.   Then his father, who has inspired this vague sense future accomplishment in Johnny, dies abruptly when the boy is only twelve.   Johnny is abandoned with a notion that success will find him, and only through a series of ups and downs later in life will John finally realize life is not that easy.  
John Sims arrives in New York City at the gentle age of 21, surprisingly humble.   As he looks upon the approaching city a gentleman proclaims, “You gotta be good in that town if you want to beat the crowd.”   John replies...