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.
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Frank Capra's Production for 1941
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3 May 1941 (USA)
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Also Known As:
Frank Capra's 'Meet John Doe'
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(RCA Sound System)
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?
went into production without a clear idea of how the film should end. He shot or edited five endings and previewed two. In one, the film ended with John being disgraced at the John Doe Convention and Henry Connell saying, "Well, boys, you can chalk another one up to the Pontius Pilates." Preview audiences found that version too depressing. Another ending actually had John committing suicide, with The Colonel cradling his dead body in his arms and saying, "Long John, you poor fool. You poor sucker." Robert Riskin
preferred this ending, but Capra was unconvinced and feared the suicide would cause problems with the Catholic Church. He also had a version in which Ann talks John out of committing suicide and a variation in which John's merry Christmas with Henry causes the corrupt publisher to see the light. Undecided, Capra released different versions of the ending for the film's initial engagements in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, DC. Finally, a comment from one of the previews inspired a fifth ending, in which some of the original John Doe Club members show up to tell Willoughby they had never stopped believing in him. That also would allow Capra to deal with another problem pointed out by preview audiences and in letters from angry fans--the depiction of Willoughby's followers as a fickle herd easily swayed by the film's corrupt politicians. Capra shot the new ending and had prints called back from theaters so it could be added before the film went into national release. Years later he would say that even that ending wasn't quite right. See more
The collar of John Doe's coat is alternately up and down between shots when Ann is persuading him not to jump off the roof. See more
[criticizing John's anti-separatism speech
Tear down fences... why, if you tore one picket off your neighbor's fence, he'd sue you!
Also available in a computer-colorized version. See more
March of the Swiss Soldiers
From 'The William Tell Overture'
Written by Gioachino Rossini
Played on harmonica by Gary Cooper
and Walter Brennan See more