Most audiences won’t understand a great deal of the scientific background or import, and a great portion won’t care. Try as hard as the producers could, they haven’t avoided some dull stretches of scientific discourse certain to baffle average audiences. Expert casting and splendid production are the points in the film’s favor, primarily. Paul Muni in the title role is at his very top form.
Film starts out with Louis Pasteur (Muni) already somewhat established, skipping his early life and struggles. His wine and beer discoveries have already been accepted and he’s propagandizing for sterilization of doctors and doctors’ instruments in childbirth. Doesn’t get him very far because of general medical opposition, and he turns to treatment of anthrax in sheep and cattle.
Gets that over and is admitted in to the French Academy, although still scoffed at by the majority of his confreres. Works on a cure for rabies and hydrophobia for the rest of the picture. His reward finally is general acclaim.
Josephine Hutchinson as Pasteur’s wife is splendid and believable. Anita Louise as his daughter and Donald Woods as her finacee are expected to handle the romance and almost do it. Fritz Leiber as Dr. Charbonnet, Pasteur’s strongest enemy, turns in an outstanding performance.