Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 6, No. 9 July 14, 1943
Meet John Doe
Meet John Doe
Frank Capra has presented to us one of the most outstanding pictures of the year. It is a well-timed warning against the open and hidden activities of the Fascist Fifth Column. For the first time Hollywood has succeeded in exposing the criminal methods Fascists have applied in their ruthless attempt to capture power.
The story could happen in almost any country. An obscure newspaper reporter invents the letter of a man called John Doe, in which he accuses the politicians and financiers to be the cause of all the poverty and misery in the country. In protest John announces his intention to commit suicide on Christmas Eve. The story is given a huge amount of publicity. John Doe Clubs are formed all over America. All that is needed now is the man John Doe himself. Out of the nameless army of unemployed a young man is hired by the newspaper magnates for the job and he is made to adopt the fictitious name.
However, all the clubs have only been organised with the aim of snatching the votes of the now hopeful petty bourgeoisie in the forthcoming presidential election. The small clique of bankers and oil magnates have pulled just another gag in their attempt to come to power. But John Doe saves the day. The moment he tries to expose the criminal masters for whom he has unconsciously been working, he becomes the victim of all the brutal persecution Fascism uses against an enemy. Yet in spite of all John Doe is prepared to sacrifice his life in the struggle for truth and freedom.
We are most grateful to Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck and Edgar Arnold for their magnificent performance.