The Life of Emile Zola

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Format:  DVD  (2 Discs)
item number:  XSUR 00576D
Brand New
Also released as:

DVD Features:

  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 2 hours, 8 minutes
  • Video: Black & White
  • Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
  • Released: January 8, 2008
  • Originally Released: 1937
  • Label: Warner Home Video
  • O-Sleeve
  • Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33

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
Rating: 4/4 -- The most distinguished and most important contribution to the screen this year. Full Review
New York Daily News
Feb 17, 2015
The best of the screen biographies. Full Review
Maclean's Magazine
Jul 19, 2019
A great and valuable and stirring film document. Full Review
New York Times
May 20, 2003
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
The film has all the elements of greatness. It is also remarkably accurate. Full Review
The Spectator
Feb 14, 2019
Last week Warner Brothers released a movie which is probably the outstanding prestige picture of the season. It is also one of the best shows. Full Review
TIME Magazine
Feb 17, 2009
So simple and powerful is Muni's Zola that one feels him to be. not a shadow on a screen, but a living person. Full Review
California Eagle
Oct 30, 2019

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.


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

  • UPC: 883929002504
  • Shipping Weight: 0.25/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 2 items

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