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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 8,549 users  
Reviews: 79 user | 44 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) (as Robert Presnell) , 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:
...
...
...
...
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

The rooftop set for the final scene in was built in an icehouse to capture the sense that it was taking place on Christmas Eve. Barbara Stanwyck later said after shooting the scene she had to go to "the hospital for a defrost." See more »

Goofs

During the montage showing John Doe Clubs gaining in popularity, closeups of a map are shown with flags being pinned up for every new club. At the end of the montage, the camera pulls back to show a map of the entire US. However, the final map has substantially fewer flags pinned to it than what was shown during the closeups. See more »

Quotes

The Colonel: $5,000. Holy mackerel! I can see the helots coming now. A whole army of them.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Grey's Anatomy: Freedom: Part 1 (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee
(1939) (uncredited)
Music by Leigh Harline
Played on ocarina by Walter Brennan (I)'
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 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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