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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. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Mrs. Mitchell
...
...
Mayor Lovett
...
Ted Sheldon
...
...
Bert
...
...
...
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) See more »

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 more on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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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

Henry Connel: Listen, if that guy lays an egg I want to get *something* out of it! I'm getting a Jane Doe ready.
See more »

Connections

References Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

ODE TO JOY
(uncredited)
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven (1824)
Lyrics by Friedrich Schiller (1785)
Performed by Hall Johnson Choir
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Powerful, Involving Story - Maybe Capra's Best
23 October 2006 | by 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.


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