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Meet John Doe (1941)

Passed  -  Comedy | Drama | Romance  -  3 May 1941 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 7,779 users  
Reviews: 78 user | 39 critic

A man needing money agrees to impersonate a nonexistent person who said he'd be committing suicide as a protest, and a political movement begins.

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(based on a story by), (based on a story by), 2 more credits »
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Title: Meet John Doe (1941)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
D.B. Norton
...
The 'Colonel'
...
Mrs. Mitchell
...
Henry
...
Mayor Lovett
...
Ted Sheldon
Irving Bacon ...
...
Bert (credit only)
J. Farrell MacDonald ...
'Sourpuss'
Warren Hymer ...
Angelface
Harry Holman ...
Mayor Hawkins
Andrew Tombes ...
Spencer
Pierre Watkin ...
Hammett
Edit

Storyline

As a parting shot, fired reporter Ann Mitchell prints a fake letter from unemployed "John Doe," who threatens suicide in protest of social ills. The paper is forced to rehire Ann and hires John Willoughby to impersonate "Doe." Ann and her bosses cynically milk the story for all it's worth, until the made-up "John Doe" philosophy starts a whole political movement. At last everyone, even Ann, takes her creation seriously...but publisher D.B. Norton has a secret plan. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

ALL AMERICA WANTS TO MEET THE "MR. DEEDS" OF 1941! (original print media ad - all caps)

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 May 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Frank Capra's 'Meet John Doe'  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Frank Capra tested the film in different areas of the US with four different endings to determine which one to keep. In one, John Willoughby commits suicide. In another, Ann Mitchell persuades him not to leap from City Hall. Inspired by a letter signed "John Doe," Capra filmed a fifth and final ending in which Mitchell talks some sense into Willoughby and then faints into his arms. See more »

Goofs

When Ann is struggling to write John Doe's radio speech, she balls up one draft and throws the paper on the floor in disgust. The dog picks up the crumpled paper and approaches the apparently empty wastebasket. After the cut, when the dog drops the paper into the wastebasket, the wastebasket is full. See more »

Quotes

The Colonel: I've seen guys like you before. Guys that never had to worry. Then they get a hold of some dough and go goofy.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 79th Annual Academy Awards (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

OH! SUSANNA
(1848) (uncredited)
Written by Stephen Foster
Performed by Hall Johnson Choir
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Powerful, Involving Story - Maybe Capra's Best
23 October 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This was a very absorbing story and one of director Frank Capra's best efforts. There is some great acting in here, almost mesmerizing at times. The story is a typical Capra-esquire populist one in which the average man is elevated to high status, his worth and valued boosted in a cynical world.

Yes, it's a far-fetched story but it's fun to watch and has some powerful messages, leading with "Love thy neighbor." I was very impressed with Barbara Stanwyck's speech near the end, noting Jesus' words to that effect while pleading to Gary Cooper. By the way, having Cooper and Stanwyck as the leads isn't all bad, either! Adding actors like Walter Brennan, James Gleason and Spring Byington make it all the better.

Photography-wise, the film has an almost-eerie look to it in parts and is very interesting to view. I have yet to see this on DVD, but I plan to soon, I hope. Script- wise, it has a very good mixture of drama, comedy and romance. The story and the convincing actors all make it an involving experience and an emotional film.

As I said, I think this is one of Capra's best films, if not THE best.


13 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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