Meet John Doe, 1941

We love stories about heroes. And we love stories about Girl Power. This is both. This film was directed by Frank Capra, whose films are usually about the common man, rather than superheroes.  

Barbara Stanwyck is Ann Mitchell, a newspaper reporter who’ll do anything to save her job. In her rage at being fired, she changes her last column before she takes her belongings and leaves. The column is a letter from a fake suicidal citizen who plans to jump from the top of city hall. The column gets the city in an uproar.  

Gary Cooper plays a former baseball player whose career ended with an injury. He’s been out of work for a couple of years and wants to get a job so he can eat. Cooper is John Doe, the supposedly suicidal man without a job. He gets enough attention to bring the newspaper out of mediocrity. Soon the newspaper’s circulation skyrockets.

John Doe spends his days in a hotel room playing baseball with his friend Colonel. Of course, they didn’t use an actual ball. Still, it was a fun game. Pretty soon the word gets out to all the surrounding communities about John Doe, and thousands hear him on the radio.

Norton, the owner of the newspaper, invests in the John Doe movement until “Join a John Doe Club” becomes a rallying cry. Everyone goes to meet their neighbor, and communities come together to help out those who need it.

When Norton wants to use this powerful voice of the people for his own plans, things get out of hand. John has a decision to make.

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