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Early on, when film prints traveled from small town to small town in the American heartland, they were often narrated by a live raconteur, who would explain the action on-screen to audiences. "Intertitles"—those cards between moments of action—contained explanations of action, or important moments of dialogue, or even bits of poetry to set the mood.
Read more: Movies and Film: A Brief History of Sound in Movies — Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/cig/movies-flicks-film/brief-history-sound-movies.html#ixzz21JDxNS1y
The central characters win, because of their innate goodness
"Meet John Doe" drew criticism for what was seen as a "cop-out" happy ending. But BosleyCrowther of The Times called the 1941 movie "superlative" and said it was "by far the hardest-hitting and most trenchant picture on the theme of democracy" Mr. Capra had yet made.