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Meet John Doe

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Original title
Meet John Doe
Running time
122 min.
United States United States
Robert Riskin (Story: Richard Connell, Robert Presnell Sr)
Dimitri Tiomkin
George Barnes (B&W)
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Frank Capra Productions. Distributed by Warner Bros Pictures
Drama | Journalism. Social Drama
Synopsis / Plot
Gary Cooper stars as a nobody hired by a newspaper as part of a stunt to play a man that says he will commit suicide Christmas Eve because he's tired of how people have forgotten each other. Barbara Stanwyck stars as the reporter who cooks up the scheme, but slowly begins to believe the words she is writing and falls in love with the man she helped to create. Politicians want to use his hold over the common people to further their own objectives. And in the middle of it is Cooper, who finds himself trapped as a pawn in a game he can't seem to control. The actors are all fine, with Stanwyck giving an especially impassioned performance. The viewer has to wade through the usual Capra speeches about the importance of the regular Joe/John Doe, and once again it's the little guy against the whole system. Yet the film works, although not quite as well as some of his other films. There's a lot of drama and the ideals set forth are certainly worthy ideals. Capra has a way of tapping into the decency inside all of us.
1941: Nominated for Oscar: Best Story
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