The Life of Emile Zola

Starring: Paul Muni Director: William Dieterle
The Life of Emile Zola
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DVD Features:

  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 2 hours, 8 minutes
  • Video: Black & White
  • Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
  • Released:
  • Originally Released: 1937
  • Label: Warner Home Video
  • O-Sleeve
  • Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33

Performers, Cast and Crew:

Starring
Performer: , , , , , , , , , , &
Directed by
Edited by
Written by
Composition by
Cinematography by
Produced by

Major Awards:

Academy Awards 1937 - Best Adapted Screenplay: Geza Herczeg, Heinz Herald & Norman Reilly Raine
Academy Awards 1937 - Best Picture
Academy Awards 1937 - Best Supporting Actor: Joseph Schildkraut

Product Description:

Paul Muni stars as Emile Zola, giving possibly his best performance in this excellent biography of the great writer, which won three Oscars, including Best Picture. The film's most unusual aspect is its evasiveness regarding the anti-Semitism that led to the terrible injustice of the Dreyfus affair. As Neil Gabler and others have pointed out, this can probably be attributed to the reluctance of the Jewish studio moguls to incur the ire of a society in which they still didn't feel entirely accepted. The film tracks Zola's early years, including his friendship with Paul Cezanne (Vladimir Sokoloff), and his uphill battle to expose in print the social ills that plagued France's lower classes. When success arrives with the publication of NANA, he garners an audience that can appreciate his exposés of the corruption of the nation's government, military, and business community. But it's in the Herculean effort to clear Captain Dreyfus (Joseph Schildkraut), a victim of anti-Semitism who had been framed on charges of military espionage and sent to Devil's Island, that Zola reveals in full force the tremendous courage that undergirded his achievment. High production values, an excellent cast, and an intelligent script all add to the film's extraordinary quality.

Plot Synopsis:

Second in the series of William Dieterle's Warners biopics, THE LIFE OF EMILE ZOLA stars Paul Muni as the title character. It opens as the writer and impassioned social activist, who shares a garret with Paul Cezanne, struggles against a censorious society to get his controversial work published. He makes his name exposing the wretched conditions of the lower classes but plunges into the battle of his life, defending the innocence of scapegoat Captain Dreyfus, who had been railroaded into exile on Devil's Island by the anti-Semitism of the French military.

Plot Keywords:

Injustice | Writers

Production Notes:

  • Theatrical release: October 2, 1937.
  • Although a key reason for Captain Dreyfus's persecution by the French army was that he was Jewish, the word "Jewish" is never used in the film.
  • The story of the Dreyfus trial was told again in 1958's I ACCUSE!, which starred José Ferrer as Dreyfus and Emlyn Williams as Zola.
  • THE LIFE OF EMILE ZOLA was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2000.

Movie Lovers' Ratings & Reviews:

Customer Rating: Rating 4.6
Based on 25 ratings.
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Product Info:

  • Sales Rank: 3,920
  • UPC: 883929002504
  • Shipping Weight: 0.25/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 2 items