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Meet John Doe (70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition)

4.2 out of 5 stars 225 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A reporter pays a bum to pose as her popular but made-up spokesman, John Doe. Directed by Frank Capra.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward Arnold, Walter Brennan
  • Directors: Frank Capra
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Collector's Edition, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: VCI Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 30, 2010
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (225 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0043GAT5I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,359 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
That's right, Capra's masterpiece. More on that later.

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).
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a very "important" movie a very very good movie and a vital part of the careers of the great Gary Cooper and Frank Capra ...and up till now its only been available in horrible public domain versions that were washed out and just plain awful looking.

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.
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Format: DVD
In case this gets merged with other "Meet John Doe" reviews, I am discussing Meet John Doe (70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition).

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.
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Format: DVD
In itself "Meet John Doe" Is a warm, witty, and heartwarming story of two people who find paths cross because of a ruthless politician. This particular format from "Alpha Video Distributors" is the worst ever!! The picture looks as if if was transferred from a very bad copy of a copy of a copy of a video, with all the bad, scratches, no sharpness, washed out picture & jittery sound. I guess you get what you pay for! It's enough to make me not want to watch this dvd as it hurts my eyes and ears.
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