7.7/10
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87 user 47 critic

Meet John Doe (1941)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 3 May 1941 (USA)
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.

Director:

Writers:

(based on a story by), (based on a story by) (as Robert Presnell) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
The 'Colonel'
...
Mrs. Mitchell
...
Henry
...
Mayor Lovett
...
Ted Sheldon
...
...
Bert
...
'Sourpuss'
...
Angelface
Harry Holman ...
Mayor Hawkins
Andrew Tombes ...
Spencer
...
Hammett
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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:

 »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Well into production, Frank Capra refused to reveal publicly what the film was about. Part of the motivation for his secrecy was fear that powerful US fascist organizations would pressure Warner Bros. not to make the film, but he also did not have a completed screenplay, and keeping mum on the film's subject was his way of keeping Warner Bros. from pulling out of its agreement. See more »

Goofs

When Henry is telling John about Morton's plans for the John Doe clubs, he lights a match but holds it an inch above the cigarette that he suppose to light it with. At the end of the scene, Henry presses the end of the cigarette into a plate to extinguish it, but the cigarette at this point is no longer burning and the end is already bent over showing that it had already been pressed into the plate in an early take. See more »

Quotes

Pop Dwyer - Connell's Aide: Show me an American that can keep his mouth shut and I'll eat him.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Villains (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee
(1939) (uncredited)
Music by Leigh Harline
Played on ocarina by Walter Brennan
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User Reviews

 
Who is John Doe?
25 July 2004 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

This film is a classic example of a movie working effortlessly on a range of different layers. Capra weaves his well-loved everyman through a tale of both simplicity and political intrigue, taking in the American depression and Biblical references along the way, and comes up with messages that remain startlingly relevant today, over six decades after this movie's release.

Gary Cooper delivers a masterful performance, and in keeping with the film, achieves this with a deceptively easy touch. He is supported by a peerless cast which includes Barbara Stanwyck and Walter Brennan, both on top form.

Perhaps most impressive is the illustration of Capra's democratic ideal by including the views of the audience throughout the story. You can find all your views being voiced by different characters at various points in the tale, opening the question of just who is the average everyman that Capra is seeking to show? - and how do they relate to you?

This movie is ten stars all over. Even for keen Capra fans, the expectation is surpassed by the final delivery. Thoroughly recommended.


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