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Meet John Doe (1941)

All America Wants to Meet the “Mr. Deeds” of 1941.

This month’s Movie in the Public Domain is the 1941 Comedy, Drama, and Romance “Meet John Doe.”

After penning a fake letter of a man threating to commit suicide on Christmas Eve in protest of the world’s injustices, a fired reporter, hires a homeless, out of work drifter to impersonate the non-existent “John Doe”. Together, they spark a political movement.

Based on the 1922 Century Magazine short story, “A Reputation”, written by American author and journalist Richard Connell, the film stars Gary Cooper as our reluctant hero, John Doe, and Barbara Stanwyck as Ann Mitchell, the reporter laid off due to budget cuts and the author of the explosive letter.

Directed and produced by Frank Capra, this would be his first film produced independent of the Hollywood Studios.

Receiving generally positive reviews upon its release, Critics praised the film's powerful message of hope and unity during a time of economic hardship, as well as its exploration of political manipulation. Gary Cooper's performance as John Doe was widely acclaimed.

The film would be nominated for an Academy award for Best Original Story and when you watch it, you will see why. So, if you are ready for some laughs mixed with a thought-provoking story, “Meet John Doe” can be seen on YouTube for nothing.


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