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Meet John Doe: Fighting for Social Integrity

Uploaded by KaNhi2005 on Nov 15, 2005

Meet John Doe: Fighting for Social Integrity

Each age range has it own way of looking at itself. In the United States, as an example, the late 1930s and the 1940s was the age of the common man. Millions of Americans gloried in being average and unsophisticated. They saw themselves simply as faces in a multitude of poor people struggling to get along during hard times. In Meet John Doe, Frank Copra illustrates the common man with someone named “John Doe.” It is one of the classic films that Copra did in partnership with Robert Riskin in the early 1940s. The film appeared at the time when the United States continued to come forward from the Great Depression amidst fears of what soon became World War II. This film captures a man who is desperately in need of money and agrees to imitate a non-existent person, who announces jumping off the City Hall roof on Christmas Eve in protest against social injustice. What makes this film unique is how Capra depicts populism--the confederation of common people for a common purpose, something that can bring people together in a country that is dealing with economic hardship.

The film opens with a struggling journalist, Ann Mitchell (Barbara Stanwyck), who is in the process of being fired by her new managing editor, Henry Connell (James Gleason), because her writing contains too much “lavender and old lace” and lacks “fireworks.” To secure her job and support both her mother and two younger sisters, she writes a letter for The New Bulletin, in which she puts together a story about an imaginary man name “John Doe.”

When the counterfeit story goes to press, it stirs up a huge public reaction. This is where she has the opportunity to get her job back. She then pleads with Henry Connell into playing up the John Doe letter; however, in order to let people and other publishers know the letter is not at fraud, they decide to hire someone to pose as John Doe, an “average man.” This is where Gary Cooper comes in.

Gary Cooper plays is Long John Willoughby, a former baseball player forced to retire because of an arm injury. He is unemployed, aimless, and hungry. Ann Mitchell is looking for someone...

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Uploaded by:   KaNhi2005

Date:   11/15/2005

Category:   Film

Length:   4 pages (1,002 words)

Views:   2153

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