7.7/10
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95 user 51 critic

Meet John Doe (1941)

Not Rated | | 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:

Frank Capra

Writers:

Richard Connell (based on a story by), Robert Presnell Sr. (based on a story by) (as Robert Presnell) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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A gangster tries to make Apple Annie, the Times Square apple seller, a lady for a day.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Cooper ... Long John Willoughby
Barbara Stanwyck ... Ann Mitchell
Edward Arnold ... D.B. Norton
Walter Brennan ... The 'Colonel'
Spring Byington ... Mrs. Mitchell
James Gleason ... Connell
Gene Lockhart ... Mayor Lovett
Rod La Rocque ... Ted Sheldon
Irving Bacon ... Beany
Regis Toomey ... Bert
J. Farrell MacDonald ... 'Sourpuss'
Warren Hymer ... Angelface
Harry Holman ... Mayor Hawkins
Andrew Tombes ... Spencer
Pierre Watkin ... 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:

Produced at the Studios of WARNER BROS. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 May 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Frank Capra's 'Meet John Doe' See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Regarding the "sweet potatoes" that Gary Cooper and Walter Brennan play, in addition to "Hi Diddle Dee Dee (An Actor's Life For Me)", from Pinocchio (1940): Brennan alone plays this on an ocarina (sweet potato), but Cooper plays a small harmonica. The tune they play as a duet, while Barbara Stanwyck is interviewing them, is The "William Tell Overture, Finale" by Gioachino Rossini (popularly known as "The Lone Ranger Theme"). Cooper explains that the reason Brennan likes him is that they both play "doohickeys". 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

Mayor Hawkins: Why, Bert. I feel slighted. I'd like to join, but nobody asked me.
Sourpuss Smithers: I'm sorry, Mayor, but we voted that no politician could join.
Mrs. Hansen: Just the John Does of the neighborhood because you know how politicians are.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer-colorized version. See more »

Connections

Featured in Finished (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME
(1908) (uncredited)
Music by Albert von Tilzer
Lyrics by Jack Norworth
Performed by Hall Johnson Choir
See more »

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User Reviews

Dark, Sweet and Powerful
27 February 2004 | by LaDonnaKeskesSee all my reviews

There's an Italianate "cinema verite" in Capra's work, perhaps genetic . . . I find this film so powerful, and its characters so sympathetic, that I can hardly watch the riot scene. It's almost too terrifying.

Cooper's performance at first seems wooden, but he's an actor whom you need to watch, like a pond, to see the emotions swimming beneath the surface. Barbara Stanwyck is one of my favorite actresses--she never makes a false move and is beautiful to watch from any angle.

I find some lines of dialogue chilling in this age of Patriot Acts I and II and corporate globalism/global corporatism: "The American people need an iron hand," declares D. B. Norton, whose sneer looks like Cheney's.


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