The Life of Emile Zola (Special Edition)

He'll hold you in silence as deep as your emotions!
The Life of Emile Zola (Special Edition)
9.4K ratings
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Format:  DVD
item number:  LMTB 69252D
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DVD Features:

  • 2 Short Features
  • Classic Cartoon
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Closed captioning available
  • Run Time: 1 hours, 56 minutes
  • Video: Black & White
  • Released: February 1, 2005
  • Originally Released: 1937
  • Label: Warner Home Video
  • Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
  • Packaging: Keep Case
  • Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
  • Audio:
    • Mono 1.0 English

Performers, Cast and Crew:

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

Entertainment Reviews:


Total Count: 27


User Ratings: 2,332
The film has all the elements of greatness. It is also remarkably accurate. Full Review
The Spectator
Feb 14, 2019
This act of altruism on behalf of the brothers Warner was rewarded with the best picture Oscar for 1937; it isn't so much bad as utterly, magisterially bland. Full Review
Chicago Reader
Dec 12, 2006
The best of the screen biographies. Full Review
Maclean's Magazine
Jul 19, 2019
As a courtroom drama, and as a depiction of government corruption, this film is pretty first rate. Full Review
Feb 18, 2015
Rating: 4/5 -- This is one of a remarkable series of Warner Bros melodramatic biopics whose central performances were once considered prime examples of cinematic acting. Full Review
Radio Times
Feb 23, 2016
Rating: 4/4 -- The most distinguished and most important contribution to the screen this year. Full Review
New York Daily News
Feb 17, 2015
Stacks up well against many a film biography of the subsequent three-quarters of a century. Full Review
ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Apr 21, 2013

Description by

Paul Muni was the king of screen biographies in Hollywood's Golden Era, creating a gallery of great lives. Warner Bros. was the studio most in touch with the common clay, striking a public nerve with films of social protest. These forces of star and humanism converged in a 1937 movie landmark: The Life of Emile Zola was the studio's first Best Picture Academy Award winner (10 nominations and three wins).

This powerful film about the activist French author also won the New York Film Critics Best Picture prize. And Muni won that group's Best Actor honors for his towering portrayal of Zola, France's champion of the oppressed, whose relentless campaign to free the wrongly convicted Captain Dreyfus (Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner Joseph Schildkraut) will forever shine as "a moment in the conscience of man."

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.

Description by Warner Home Video:

The Life of Emile Zola episodically explores the career of the novelist who championed the cause of France's oppressed. Zola (Paul Muni) is a hugely successful French author who risks all his success and comfort to come to the defense of the unjustly jailed Capt. Dreyfus (Oscar winner Joseph Schildkraut). Winner of three Oscars overall-and of immense critical and popular success-this distinguished film is a must-see portrait of a life that's "a moment of the conscience of man."

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.


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.

Product Info

  • Sales Rank: 8,678
  • UPC: 012569692527
  • Shipping Weight: 0.25/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 1 item

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