Meet John Doe / A Farewell To Arms
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Meet John Doe / A Farewell To Arms Actors: Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Helen Hayes Directors: Multi Region: All Regions DVD Release Date: April 4, 2004 Run Time: 202 minutes Customer Reviews: Judging by earlier reviews, the DVD that was given to me is obviously a new edition by Marengo Films: digitally remastered and with a different cover picture than the one currently displayed here. This one deserves a 5-star rating both for its excellent picture and sound quality, and for the two marvellous and unforgettable cinema classics. "A Farewell to Arms" from 1932 is based on the Ernest Hemingway novel and is a tragic love story set in Italy during World War I with nice sets and some good and unusual camera work at times. The love affair between the American ambulance driver (Cooper) and a nurse cannot run smoothly due to the war and Cooper's interfering friend, but get your tissues out for the ending! The second Gary Cooper feature, "Meet John Doe" from 1941 is quite different, as is Cooper's character, John Doe, who goes through various emotions and reveals deeper layers of character as the story unfolds. What starts out as a reporter's last desperate attempt to keep her job ends up being a nationwide movement to motivate people to care about one's neighbour and give the average person a voice and power (hence 'John Doe'). Of course, there's always a baddie who wants to take advantage of this people-power, while John Doe struggles with himself, his identity and his feelings for the fiery lady reporter (played nicely by Barbara Stanwyck). I really got a lot out of this movie as well, and I highly recommend this DVD to any general movie fan and especially of classics like these. Just make sure it's the digitally remastered edition: written across the bottom in yellow letters on a red label.
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This movie couldn't be made today without cries of socialism and un-American sentiments. Oddly, it's the way he weaves into his message a host of Christian references that feels both lovely and subversive (never mind that much of that may have been the only way Capra could find to wind up this story, an ending he was never really happy with).
Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper are the perfect pair, with Walter Brennan lending his acting genius and James Gleason turning in a really good performance. Sadly, this movie has never been restored and every print I've seen looks like a transfer from a second-generation 16 mm copy, this version included.
This DVD was nicely done by Marengo Films and well worth the money.
"Meet John Doe", on the other hand, is probably one of the worse prints I have seen to date. Dark and full of breaks and splices and scratches, you are better off watching VCI's restored version of the film for a few bucks more.