Meet John Doe (70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition)
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Top Customer Reviews
Regarding the print, it isn't perfect in this 2010 VCI edition, but it's better than any previously released on DVD. There are still some skips, some lost frames and a few abrupt transitions, but the sound, as well as the darks, lights and mid tones, are more than acceptable--which is saying a lot, considering most public domain prints that have been paraded across the marketplace throughout the years have been decidedly UNacceptable.
1941 was a watershed year in American cinema. It was the year of the bold and groundbreaking "Citizen Kane," the breathtaking and heart wrenching "How Green Was My Valley," the grippingly patriotic "Sergeant York," the sobering, frightening fable, "The Devil and Daniel Webster," the pioneering noir classic by which all others are measured, "The Maltese Falcon," the brilliant and hilarious send-up of gangster films, "Ball of Fire," and the ultimate thinking man's comedy, "Sullivan's Travels." All are landmarks in the cinematic landscape, which hold up amazingly well today. But Frank Capra's fanfare for the common man, "Meet John Doe," also released that year, was arguably the greatest achievement in the careers of Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, character actor James Gleason, and Capra himself.
Gary Cooper was in three of the classics mentioned above, and few actors have ever had a better showing in any twelve-month stretch. Coop availed himself admirably enough as a real life hero forced to make a life changing decision in the Howard Hawks-directed "Sergeant York" to take home 1941's Academy Award for Best Actor. He displayed impressive comedic chops as a vulnerable and awkward academic with integrity in Hawks' "Ball of Fire" (which also co-starred Stanwyck).Read more ›
VCI has done a respectable job presenting this classic film in a two disc offering...the first disc holds the movie and it looks so much better than previous editions I'm not going to moan about it not being perfect. I have listened to part of the commentary and found it interesting to a point and the Frank Capra inserts very nice. The second disc contains "extras" that are second rate compared to major studio releases but are still enlightening and heck...the whole thing is so bloody affordable!
If you've been burned by bad versions in the past...I doubt its going to be released any better than this...and this is pretty good!
Just to be sure I'm reviewing the 2 DVD VCI set of Meet John Doe which was released Nov 30th 2010.
First, I'll discuss the film itself. I love Frank Capra movies. "It's a Wonderful Life" is my all-time favorite film. "Meet John Doe" is another Capra masterpiece. Gary Cooper is wonderful as "Long John" Willoughby, hired to act the part of John Doe, yet coming to believe in the movement he created. Edward Arnold as D.B. Norton continues his string of memorable Capra villains. The film is not neccessarily as uplifting as "It's a Wonderful Life," but it does have its moments. When the deception is revealed, his loyal followers turn on him. Things turn bleak for our hero and he, like George Bailey years later, finds himself contemplating suicide on Christmas Eve.
I have seen 3 or 4 different prints of this film over the last couple of years, via borrowed DVDs, download and on TV. This is, hands-down, the best looking print I've seen (I have not seen the Madacy version mentioned in other reviews). It's not quite on par with Paramount's "It's a Wonderful Life" restoration, but it is very good. The extras are a nice bonus. Ken Barnes' commentary is more detailed than several of the Frank Capra Jr. commentaries found on the Columbia Capra discs. The featurettes do not focus specifically on "Meet John Doe," but give nice overviews of the careers of Capra, Cooper, and Stanwyck. Also one of the few DVDs of this film to included subtitles, and you get english, german, french and spanish.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Better picture and sound quality than my old single disc version - and some interesting extras. I still hope that one day soon their will be a Blu-ray version - that it truly... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Eternal Moments
A reporter creates an "everyman," a guy who writes a letter to the paper claiming he will jump from a local building in protest of the state of the country. Read morePublished 1 month ago by James D. Crabtree
Yes I have donned my flak vest and helmet in preparation, but it must be said that this movie is PONDEROUSLY LONG! Read morePublished 2 months ago by Le Stryge
Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Coooper...what a combo! I first saw them in "Ball of Fire" and their chemistry is just as great in this film. Read morePublished 2 months ago by WW2VintageGal
This is one of the lesser known Frank Capra movies that is finally receiving the recognition it deserves. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Robert G. Bush
One in a Million. Should be required watching for the Millennials, even if you had to take their smart phones and Starbucks cards away from them. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Tom Nelson
Not as great as I remembered it. It's a clean quality copy of the film on DVD but the film itself seems dated and almost silly now. I found the Walter Brennan character annoying. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Shop-a-holic