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Meet John Doe


Taken from IMDB: 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

File:Meet John Doe (1941).webm
Meet John Doe is a 1941 in film United States comedy film drama film film directed and produced by Frank Capra, and starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. The film is about a "grassroots" political campaign created unwittingly by a newspaper columnist and pursued by a wealthy businessman. It became a box office hit and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Story. Though the film is less well known than other Frank Capra classics, it remains highly regarded today. It was ranked #49 in AFI's 100 Years... 100 Cheers. In 1969, the film entered the List of films in the public domain in the United States due to the claimants' failure to renew its copyright registration in the 28th year after release.</> Afterward, feeling conflicted, he runs away, riding the rails with the Colonel until they reach Millsville. "John Doe" is recognized at a diner and brought to City Hall, where he's met by Bert Hanson (Regis Toomey), who explains how he was inspired by Doe's words to start a "John Doe club" with his neighbors.
The John Doe philosophy spreads across the country, developing into a broad grassroots movement whose simple slogan is, "Be a better neighbor". However, Norton secretly plans to channel support for Doe into support for his own national political ambitions. When a John Doe rally is scheduled, with John Doe clubs from throughout the country in attendance, Norton instructs Mitchell to write a speech for Willoughby in which he announces the foundation of a new political party and endorses Norton as its presidential candidate. On the night of the rally, Willoughby, who has come to believe in the John Doe philosophy himself, learns of Norton's treachery from a drunken Connell. He denounces Norton and tries to expose the plot at the rally, but Norton speaks first, exposing Doe as a fake and claiming to have been deceived, like everyone else, by the staff of the newspaper. Despondent at letting his now-angry followers down, Willoughby plans to commit suicide by jumping from the roof of the City Hall on Christmas Eve, as indicated in the original John Doe letter. Mitchell, who has fallen in love with Willoughby, desperately tries to talk him out of jumping (saying Jesus Christ has already died for the sake of humanity), and Hanson and his neighbors tell him of their plan to restart their John Doe club. Convinced not to kill himself, Willoughby leaves, carrying a fainted Mitchell in his arms, and Connell turns to Norton and says, "There you are, Norton! The people! Try and lick that!"


  • Gary Cooper as John Doe/Long John Willoughby
  • Barbara Stanwyck as Ann Mitchell
  • Edward Arnold (actor) as D. B. Norton
  • Walter Brennan as The Colonel
  • Spring Byington as Mrs. Mitchell
  • James Gleason as Henry Connell
  • Gene Lockhart as Mayor Lovett
  • Rod La Rocque as Ted Sheldon
  • Irving Bacon as Beanie
  • Regis Toomey as Bert
  • J. Farrell MacDonald as "Sourpuss"
  • Harry Holman as Mayor Hawkins
  • Warren Hymer as "Angelface"


The film was screenwriter Robert Riskin's last collaboration with Capra. The screenplay was derived from a 1939 film treatment, titled "The Life and Death of John Doe", written by Richard Connell and Robert Presnell who would go on to be the recipients of the film's sole Academy Award nomination for Best Original Story. The treatment was based upon Connell's 1922 Century Magazine story titled "A Reputation".< name="Dirks"></>
Gary Cooper was always Frank Capra's first choice to play John Doe. Cooper had agreed to the part without reading a script for two reasons: he had enjoyed working with Capra on their earlier collaboration, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), and he wanted to work with Barbara Stanwyck. The role of the hardbitten news reporter, however, was initially offered to Ann Sheridan, but the first choice for the role had been turned down by Warner Bros. due to a contract dispute, and Olivia de Havilland was similarly contacted, albeit unsuccessfully.</> After an off-Broadway stint, the Chicago production of the musical was presented at the Porchlight Music Theatre from March 5 to April 17, 2011 under the direction of Jim Beaudry, musical direction by Eugene Dizon, featuring Elizabeth Lanza as Ann Mitchell and Karl Hamilton as John Willoughby/John Doe, garnering a Joseph Jefferson Awards nomination for Actress in a Principal Role – Musical for Elizabeth Lanza. Due to this production, R&H Theatricals has licensed the show for future productions.<></>
Bollywood made a remake of the same movie titles Main Azaad Hoon (1989) starring Amitabh Bachchan.<> </>



  • Capra, Frank. Frank Capra, The Name Above the Title: An Autobiography. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1971. ISBN 0-306-80771-8.
  • McBride, Joseph. Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success. New York: Touchstone Books, 1992. ISBN 0-671-79788-3.
  • Scherle, Victor and William Levy. The Films of Frank Capra. Secaucus, New Jersey: The Citadel Press, 1977. ISBN 0-8065-0430-7.

Category:1941 films
Category:1940s comedy-drama films
Category:1940s romantic comedy films
Category:American comedy-drama films
Category:Films directed by Frank Capra
Category:Black-and-white films
Category:Warner Bros. films
Category:Films about journalists
Frank Capra

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