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Meet John Doe (1941) directed by Frank Capra

Meet John Doe

directed by Frank Capra

Frank Capra's   Meet John Doe

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John Willoughby (Gary Cooper), a hungry hobo, sells himself to a newspaper as the author of a fake letter written by fired reporter Ann Mitchell (Barbara Stanwyck). The letter represents the desperation of all "John Does" who struggle to eat, make a living and survive honestly in a world gone mad. The fake letter threatens suicide on Christmas Eve in protest against human indignities and social injustices.

The hoax spirals out of control as greed and ambitions take hold of the "John Doe movement". The betrayal of John Doe has overtones of Christ's passion, and the hobo decides to jump to his death on Christmas Eve to prove his sincerity. But out of love, Ann disuades him from the expiation, reminding John that the first "John Doe" (Jesus Christ) already died for us.

Capra's film is great for Christmas as well as Easter.
Commentary summary written by M.G. Maresca © 2003 Mario G. Maresca

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