IMDb > Meet John Doe (1941)
Meet John Doe
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Meet John Doe (1941) More at IMDbPro »

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Meet John Doe -- 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.

Overview

User Rating:
7.7/10   8,016 votes »
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Down 13% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Richard Connell (based on a story by) and
Robert Presnell Sr. (based on a story by) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Meet John Doe on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
3 May 1941 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
ALL AMERICA WANTS TO MEET THE "MR. DEEDS" OF 1941! (original print media ad - all caps)
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. See more »
NewsDesk:
(25 articles)
Barbara Stanwyck: The Real Best Actress of 1941
 (From FilmExperience. 28 May 2014, 8:50 AM, PDT)

What does 1941 mean to you? (The Smackdown Cometh!)
 (From FilmExperience. 21 May 2014, 8:04 AM, PDT)

Glenn Beck's New Job: Movie Producer
 (From Rolling Stone. 16 April 2014, 10:40 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Dark yet optimistic, beautifully realized piece of Americana as only Capra can dream up. See more (78 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Gary Cooper ... John Doe

Barbara Stanwyck ... Ann Mitchell

Edward Arnold ... D.B. Norton

Walter Brennan ... The 'Colonel'

Spring Byington ... Mrs. Mitchell

James Gleason ... Henry

Gene Lockhart ... Mayor Lovett

Rod La Rocque ... Ted Sheldon
Irving Bacon ... Beany

Regis Toomey ... Bert (credit only)
J. Farrell MacDonald ... 'Sourpuss'
Warren Hymer ... Angelface
Harry Holman ... Mayor Hawkins
Andrew Tombes ... Spencer
Pierre Watkin ... Hammett
Stanley Andrews ... Weston
Mitchell Lewis ... Bennett
Charles C. Wilson ... Charlie Dawson (as Charles Wilson)
Vaughan Glaser ... Governor

Sterling Holloway ... Dan
M.J. Frankovich ... Radio Announcer (as Mike Frankovich)
Knox Manning ... Radio Announcer
John B. Hughes ... Radio Announcer
Hall Johnson Choir
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dorothy Andre ... American Girl (uncredited)
Frank Austin ... Grubbel (uncredited)
American Legion Band ... Musical Ensemble (uncredited)
Evelyn Barlow ... (uncredited)
Benny Bartlett ... Red (uncredited)
Mary Benoit ... Secretary (uncredited)
Max Blum ... (uncredited)

Aldrich Bowker ... Pop Dwyer (uncredited)
Sidney Bracey ... Club Member (uncredited)
Fritzi Brunette ... (uncredited)
Earle D. Bunn ... Policeman (uncredited)
Lucia Carroll ... (uncredited)
Glen Cavender ... (uncredited)
Howard Chase ... Electrician (uncredited)
Jack Cheatham ... Cop with Desk Sergeant (uncredited)
St. Brendan's Boy Choir ... Vocal Ensemble (uncredited)
Edmund Cobb ... Cop Guarding Ann (uncredited)
Mildred Coles ... Secretary (uncredited)
Alan Copeland ... Choirboy (uncredited)
Madge Crane ... Mrs. Brewster (uncredited)
Floyd Criswell ... Electrician (uncredited)
Billy Curtis ... Midget (uncredited)
Daisy ... The Mitchells' Dog (uncredited)

Harry Davenport ... Former Bulletin Owner (uncredited)
Lew Davis ... Electrician (uncredited)
Vernon Dent ... (uncredited)
Evelyn Dockson ... (uncredited)

Ann Doran ... Mrs. Hansen (uncredited)
Edward Earle ... Radio Master of Ceremonies (uncredited)
Sarah Edwards ... Mrs. Hawkins (uncredited)
Carl Ekberg ... Reporter (uncredited)
Paul Everton ... GOP Man (uncredited)
Frank Fanning ... Reporter (uncredited)
Franklyn Farnum ... (uncredited)
Eddie Fetherston ... Reporter (uncredited)
Walter Findon ... (uncredited)

Pat Flaherty ... Mike (uncredited)
Bess Flowers ... Mattie (uncredited)
Fern Formica ... Midget (uncredited)
William Forrest ... Governor's Associate (uncredited)
Charles K. French ... Fired Reporter (uncredited)
Galan Galt ... (uncredited)
Jack Gardner ... Photographer (uncredited)
Inez Gay ... (uncredited)
Ethel Gilstrom ... (uncredited)
William Gould ... Sergeant (uncredited)
Eddie Graham ... Tall Autograph Hound (uncredited)

Mack Gray ... (uncredited)
Jay Guedillio ... (uncredited)
Alfred Hall ... Chamber of Commerce Member (uncredited)
Donald Hall ... (uncredited)
John Hamilton ... Jim (uncredited)
Kenneth Harlan ... Publicity Man (uncredited)
James Harrison ... (uncredited)
Forrester Harvey ... Bum (uncredited)
Edward Hearn ... Mayor's Secretary (uncredited)
Oscar 'Dutch' Hendrian ... Radio Station Audience Member (uncredited)
Max Hoffman Jr. ... (uncredited)
Stuart Holmes ... (uncredited)
John Ince ... Doctor (uncredited)

Selmer Jackson ... Radio Announcer at Convention (uncredited)
Frank Jaquet ... Police Desk Sergeant (uncredited)
Carlotta Jelm ... Ann's Sister (uncredited)
Sheldon Jett ... Man in Radio Audience (uncredited)
Eddie Kane ... Wall Street Tycoon (uncredited)
Edward Keane ... Relief Administrator (uncredited)
Richard Kipling ... Police Commissioner (uncredited)
Isabel La Mal ... Chamber of Commerce Member (uncredited)
Melvin Lang ... Foreign Dignitary (uncredited)
Florence Lawler ... (uncredited)
Walter Linden ... Photographer (uncredited)
Al Lloyd ... (uncredited)
Anna Luther ... (uncredited)
Hank Mann ... Eddie (uncredited)
Alphonse Martell ... Foreign Dignitary (uncredited)
Frank Mayo ... Attendant (uncredited)
Charles McAvoy ... (uncredited)
Larry McGrath ... (uncredited)
Joe McGuinn ... (uncredited)
Tom McGuire ... (uncredited)
Lafe McKee ... Mr. Delaney (uncredited)
James McNamara ... Sheriff (uncredited)
Edward McWade ... Joe (uncredited)
Claire Meade ... (uncredited)
George Melford ... Chamber of Commerce Member (uncredited)
Frank Meredith ... Guard (uncredited)
Dave Miller and His New York French Casino Band ... Musical Ensemble (uncredited)
James Millican ... Photographer (uncredited)
Charles R. Moore ... City Hall Janitor (uncredited)
Bert Moorhouse ... Man at Stadium Rally (uncredited)
Frank Moran ... (uncredited)
Clark Morgan ... (uncredited)
Gene Morgan ... Mug (uncredited)
Jack Mower ... Guard (uncredited)
Forbes Murray ... Legislator (uncredited)
Gail Newbray ... Phone Operator (uncredited)
Mrs. Wilfrid North ... (uncredited)
Wedgwood Nowell ... (uncredited)
Garry Owen ... Sign Painter (uncredited)
Paul Panzer ... (uncredited)
Edward Peil Sr. ... (uncredited)
George Pembroke ... (uncredited)
Bob Perry ... Delegate (uncredited)
Susan Peters ... Autograph Hound (uncredited)
Elsa Peterson ... (uncredited)
Hal Price ... (uncredited)
Stanley Price ... (uncredited)
John J. Richardson ... Man in Diner (uncredited)
Cyril Ring ... Radio Technician (uncredited)
Don Roberts ... (uncredited)
Henry Roquemore ... Chamber of Commerce Member (uncredited)
Thomas W. Ross ... (uncredited)
Sally Sage ... (uncredited)
Cliff Saum ... Guard (uncredited)
Sada Simmons ... (uncredited)
Russell Simpson ... (uncredited)
Walter Soderling ... Barrington (uncredited)
Wyndham Standing ... Democrat (uncredited)
Edwin Stanley ... Democrat (uncredited)

Vera Steadman ... (uncredited)
Bert Stevens ... Radio Station Audience Member (uncredited)
Brick Sullivan ... Policeman (uncredited)
Emma Tansey ... Mrs. Delaney (uncredited)
Tina Thayer ... Ann's Sister (uncredited)
Cyril Thornton ... D.B.'s Butler (uncredited)
Jim Thorpe ... John Doe Applicant (uncredited)
Charles Trowbridge ... (uncredited)
Don Turner ... Guard (uncredited)
Guy Usher ... Bixler (uncredited)
Frederick Vogeding ... (uncredited)
Bess Wade ... (uncredited)
Lillian West ... (uncredited)
Bernard Wheeler ... (uncredited)
Leo White ... (uncredited)
Ed Williams ... (uncredited)
Lottie Williams ... (uncredited)
Tom Wilson ... Diner Patron / Radio Station Audience Member (uncredited)
Jack Wise ... Delegate (uncredited)
Maris Wrixon ... Autograph Hound (uncredited)

Directed by
Frank Capra 
 
Writing credits
Richard Connell (based on a story by) and
Robert Presnell Sr. (based on a story by) (as Robert Presnell)

Robert Riskin (screen play)

Myles Connolly  contributor to dialogue and screenplay constuction (uncredited)

Produced by
Frank Capra .... producer (uncredited)
Robert Riskin .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Dimitri Tiomkin (musical score)
 
Cinematography by
George Barnes (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Daniel Mandell (film editor)
 
Art Direction by
Stephen Goosson 
 
Costume Design by
Natalie Visart (gowns)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Arthur S. Black Jr. .... assistant director (as Arthur S. Black)
 
Sound Department
C.A. Riggs .... sound
 
Special Effects by
Jack Cosgrove .... special effects
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Mack Elliott .... still photographer (uncredited)
Irving Lippman .... still photographer (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Slavko Vorkapich .... montage effects
 
Music Department
Leo F. Forbstein .... musical director
Hall Johnson .... choral arrangements
George Bassman .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Simon Bucharoff .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Lucien Cailliet .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Hugo Friedhofer .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Leigh Harline .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Charles Maxwell .... orchestrator (uncredited)
George Parrish .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Leonid Raab .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Max Reese .... orchestrator (uncredited)
David Tamkin .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
William Erbes .... rain effects: supervisor (uncredited)
William S. Holman .... general manager (uncredited)
William Cameron Menzies .... production advisor (uncredited)
Arthur Turelly .... instructor: harmonica, Gary Cooper (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Frank Capra's 'Meet John Doe'" - USA (complete title)
See more »
Runtime:
USA:122 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:G | Australia:MA (Cable TV rating) | Brazil:14 | Finland:K-16 | Portugal:M/12 | Sweden:Btl | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #6560) | USA:TV-G (TV rating)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The original copyright was apparently never renewed, and the film fell into public domain, with the result that a multitude of low cost, low quality, VHS and dupes flooded the videotape market, and were broadcast by independent cable and television stations who did not have access to the original material.See more »
Goofs:
Plot holes: After "John Doe" intrudes on D. B. Norton's dinner party and tells him off, Norton calls his newspaper and orders a special edition which will reveal Doe as a fraud. Doe takes a cab from Norton's house directly to the convention hall. Within minutes of his arrival there, a horde of newsboys appear with copies of the newspaper. It would be impossible to print an extra edition in such a short period of time.See more »
Quotes:
Henry Connel:I should be drinking milk, you know. This stuff is poison.
[orders another]
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in "Bates Motel: The Box (#2.9)" (2014)See more »
Soundtrack:
Beer Barrel PolkaSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
33 out of 35 people found the following review useful.
Dark yet optimistic, beautifully realized piece of Americana as only Capra can dream up., 17 January 2002
Author: gary brumburgh (gbrumburgh@pacbell.net) from Los Angeles, California

Frank Capra's unabashed patriotism wins another pennant for Team U.S.A. with `Meet John Doe,' an Oscar-nominated feature (for original screenplay) that roots for the underdog while demonstrating the power of the people en masse. He backs up his strong, daunting ideology with sharp, crisp writing and even sharper character delineation. Capra's social piece was timely released in 1940, when Nazi sympathizers were gaining a potent voice in America, just prior to our involvement in WWII.

Struggling columnist Ann Mitchell (the incomparable Barbara Stanwyck) is one of many about to receive their walking papers as the latest casualties of a newspaper takeover. Learning that her dismissal is in part due to a writing style that lacks bite, she vents her anger on her last assignment, fabricating and printing a somber, biting `John Doe' letter. `Written' by a despairing, unemployed man, who, tired of life's indignities, has given up on an indifferent, capitalistic society, the writer vows to throw himself off the top of City Hall on Christmas Eve.

Ann's last column sparks a major outpouring of varying concern, not only from top government officials, but from newspaper competitors who claims the piece is a work of fiction designed to promote sales subscriptions, and from the public who are genuinely moved by this man's plight. Caught between a rock and a hard place, the new editor-in-chief (James Gleason, in a marvelous turn) reluctantly keeps Ann on the payroll (with a bonus) while deciding to run with the story. Auditioning indigent men to lend a face to their `John Doe,' they find their man in 'Long John' Willoughby (played to perfection by Gary Cooper), an ex-baseball player who has fallen on hard times. Willoughby becomes an instant celebrity and an identifiable symbol of integrity and humanity. `John Doe' clubs soon start sprouting up all over the place promoting `good neighbor' policies. Trouble brews, however, when a ruthless financier (played with typical malice by Edward Arnold) agrees to sponsor `John Doe' appearances for radio and the lecture circuit, then threatens the movement by using it for his own political aspirations.

Cooper and Stanwyck are ideal in their top roles. Stanwyck is peerless when it comes to playing smart, gutsy gals. Here, she shows all sorts of vibrant colors as an assertive reporter trying desperately to climb up the newspaper ladder without getting her hands too dirty, trapped on both sides of the fence and playing both sides superbly. Coop too is deeply affecting, the epitome of the `aw shucks' kind of 'everyman' who manages to find a stirring, articulate voice underneath all that awkwardness and reticence. Nobody plays this kind of role better.

It helps too that the leads are surrounded by all-star character pros. James Gleason is marvelous as the frustrated editor who must wrestle with his conscience as the hoax he orchestrated gets seriously out of hand. He has one exquisitely tipsy scene in a bar with Coop where he lays all the cards out on the table. Regis Toomey, as a prime spokesperson for the "John Doe" movement, has a touching moment as he expresses the impact the club has made on his community. Edward Arnold is exemplary as the manipulating moneybags, and Walter Brennan's straightforward Colonel is insightful as Coop's obstinate buddy who sees his friend falling into the same opportunistic trappings he is supposedly rebelling against. The one veteran, scene-stealing player not up to snuff is Spring Byington, who is stuck on the bench in a rather benign, devoted mom role.

The only foul ball I found in this fast-paced, smooth-running story takes place atop the City Hall with an overly hysterical Stanwyck punching home Capra's idealism ad nauseum. It could have been more effective with a still strong but subtler set-up and approach. So, hey, it's not quite a shutout, but why quibble when the rest of the film is way ahead of the game.

Like the equally dark `It's a Wonderful Life,' Capra's genius is that he knows how to pitch and score the important points when necessary, not only with laughter and tears, but with unyielding hope and, most significantly, with words. It's more than any home crowd can ask for.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (78 total) »

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