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"Meet John Doe" - TCM restored version


DVDPhreak
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of the restored version of "Meet John Doe" that TCM aired this morning.  The picture quality surpasses all the existing DVD editions.  This restored version is, unfortunately, not yet available on home video.  I checked the streaming versions on Amazon and Vudu and they are both crummy-looking and sounding versions.  The opening Warner logo is curiously missing.  At the end of TCM's broadcast, I noticed the Sony Pictures logo.  So that's apparently the copyright holder and whom we should contact to get the restored version released.
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of the restored version of "Meet John Doe" that TCM aired this morning.  The picture quality surpasses all the existing DVD editions.  This restored version is, unfortunately, not yet available on home video.  I checked the streaming versions on Amazon and Vudu and they are both crummy-looking and sounding versions.  The opening Warner logo is curiously missing.  At the end of TCM's broadcast, I noticed the Sony Pictures logo.  So that's apparently the copyright holder and whom we should contact to get the restored version released.

 

Like the Shearer \ Gable film Idiot's Delight TCM should show some of the various alternative endings.    I assume this DVD has only the general release ending.

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Like the Shearer \ Gable film Idiot's Delight TCM should show some of the various alternative endings.    I assume this DVD has only the general release ending.

 

You've heard something to indicate that the alternative endings of MJD still exist, James? To the best of my knowledge, they don't.

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of the restored version of "Meet John Doe" that TCM aired this morning.  The picture quality surpasses all the existing DVD editions.  This restored version is, unfortunately, not yet available on home video.  I checked the streaming versions on Amazon and Vudu and they are both crummy-looking and sounding versions.  The opening Warner logo is curiously missing.  At the end of TCM's broadcast, I noticed the Sony Pictures logo.  So that's apparently the copyright holder and whom we should contact to get the restored version released.

 

Thanks for pointing this out and for posting the nice clip.  I missed it today so I'll have to wait for the next showing - seems like TCM usually has it on during the year-end holidays so maybe I can catch it then.

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You've heard something to indicate that the alternative endings of MJD still exist, James? To the best of my knowledge, they don't.

 

The only reason I mention it is that Get-TV has a trivia question section and one of the questions related to the 4 alternative endings Capra filmed for MJD.    

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TCM has been showing a restored version of Meet John Doe for about the last two years or so. Would anyone know if Is there anything different about the version broadcast today?

 

The one difference seems to be, as I mentioned earlier, that the Warner logo was not at the start of the latest TCM broadcast (

).  In past broadcasts, the logo always seemed to be there (although I could be wrong here). 
that has the opening Warner logo.
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MEET JOHN DOE never had a Warner Bros. logo on any official distribution prints, including the original release.  Warners' credit appears later in the titles - "Produced at  Warner Bros. Studios / Distributed by Vitagraph".  When Sherman Krellberg reissued the film in 1945 he changed the internal credit, removing the Vitagraph credit.  I think it was Mike Agee at Hal Roach Studios Home Video that added a Warner logo (from THEY MADE ME A CRIMINAL) to their public domain VHS release of the film.

 

meet_john_doe_credits.jpg

 

Columbia acquired official distribution rights from Sherman Krellberg and originally syndicated the film through Screen Gems (one of my 16mm prints of DOE is an official Screen Gems print and it's not very good).  Columbia retains official rights and they did the restoration. Columbia is, of course, a Sony company.

 

The preview endings to MEET JOHN DOE do not survive.

 

 

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Here is a clip of the restored version of "Meet John Doe" that TCM aired this morning.  The picture quality surpasses all the existing DVD editions.  This restored version is, unfortunately, not yet available on home video.  I checked the streaming versions on Amazon and Vudu and they are both crummy-looking and sounding versions.  The opening Warner logo is curiously missing.  At the end of TCM's broadcast, I noticed the Sony Pictures logo.  So that's apparently the copyright holder and whom we should contact to get the restored version released.

 

Actually, I think JOHN DOE is in the public domain- there is no copyright because it was not renewed, and once a film enters the public domain, I don't think it can be "privatized" again** (no one can "re-purchase" the rights)- so whoever takes the time to clean it up and package the movie with alternate endings or bonus materials has to do so, more or less, at their own expense with little potential for return...not that this hasn't happened before- MY MAN GODFREY comes to mind as an example. CRITERION might be the place for such a restoration and release...however...

 

(looks left, looks right)

 

(personally my vote would go to letting JOHN DOE decay in a vault somewhere. There are very few classic films that I actively dislike, Meet John Doe is in my top five least favorite classics ever.)

 

 

 

** although I may be wrong

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LHF,

 

The current Wikipedia page supports your statement that the movie has become public domain.  To quote the relevant section:

 

- In 1945 Capra and Riskin sold all rights in Meet John Doe to Sherman S. Krellberg's Goodwill Pictures, a New York distributor. While in Goodwill’s possession the original camera negative deteriorated due to poor storage and was eventually destroyed. Copyright in the film was not renewed and it fell into the public domain in 1969.

- The Library of Congress created a fresh preservation negative in the 1970s by combining Goodwill’s surviving 35mmm prints with the Warner Bros. studio print.

- Poor quality copies of Meet John Doe have proliferated on home video for years, sourced from inferior quality prints, while the restored LoC print remains in storage. In 2001 Ken Barns' Laureate Presentations undertook a digital restoration of the best available European print. This was released on DVD by Sanctuary in the UK and by VCI in the US. To date these are the best quality commercially available releases.

 

Perhaps what TCM is showing is some incarnation of a Library of Congress print.  Normally LoC would put their restoration stamp before/after the film, but due to the rights issues perhaps this is an exception.

 

Regardless, for those who want to watch the film the TCM version is now greatly superior to anything else.

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Perhaps what TCM is showing is some incarnation of a Library of Congress print.  Normally LoC would put their restoration stamp before/after the film, but due to the rights issues perhaps this is an exception.

 

 

Would anyone know why some films restored by the Library of Congress would have their logo on at the beginning of the film while others, such as a, presumably, still public domain Meet John Doe, do not?

 

LoC logo or not, I really appreciate TCM for showing the best looking print I've ever seen of this Capra classic.

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Okay, here is something rare for you.  While the preview finale does not survive, THE MUSIC composed for the finale but almost entirely eliminated DOES survive.  Here it is from acetates cut at the time Tiomkin recorded his score on the Warner Bros. sound stage.  Since the ending was changed, the only music that survives from these two adjacent cues (actually one cue recorded in two parts; there were two takes of each part) is the very end, dialed up after James Gleason's closing line.

 

http://www.chelsearialtostudios.com/meet_john_doe.mp3

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  • 9 months later...

Elevating this up because TCM is now showing MJD several times over the next month.  Watched it this morning and the print is wonderful.  The next showing is quickly scheduled for late Thursday evening at 2:15am EST.  If not convenient for you there are also showings on Dec. 24th and 25th.

 

Thanks again to DVDPhreak and the others who have commented here on this version.  I often criticize TCM but allowing us to see restored movies like this is one of the things they do best – thank you TCM.

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