×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Life of Emile Zola

With:
Emile Zola - Paul Muni Alexandrine Zola - Gloria Holden Lucie Dreyfus - Gale Sondergaard Capt. Dreyfus - Joseph Schildkraut Major Henry - Robert Warwick Major Walsin-Esterhazy - Robert Barrat Coll. Picquart - Henry O'Neill Mathieu Dreyfus - Harry Davenport Gen. Boldsdeffre - Ralph Morgan Gen. Pellieux - Frank Mayo Gen. Gonse - Paul Everton Gen. Mercier - Gilbert Emery Violet Richards - Marcia Mae Jones Van Kassel - Frank Sheridan Anatole France - Morris Carnovsky Cezanne- Vladimir Sokoloil Clemenceau - Grant Mitchell Cavaignac - Montagu Love Maitre Labori - Donald Crisp Major Dort - Louis Caltrern De Lagorgue - Charles Richman Pierre Dreyfus - Dickie Moore

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0029146/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Warners’ most ambitious film production of many months, “The Life of Emile Zola,” is a vibrant, tense and emotional story about the man who fought a nation with his pen and successfully championed the cause of the exiled Capt. Alfred Dreyfus. With Paul Muni in the title role, supported by distinguished players in sustaining parts, the film is destined to box office approval of the most substantial character. It is finely made and merits high rating as cinema art and significant recognition as major showmanship.

Encouraged by last season’s biographical filming of “Story of Louis Pasteur,” the studio strikes boldly with this more dramatic theme. In addition to character delineation Muni has a role which at times is submerged under the plot and counterplot of one of the amazing intrigues of modern times, but scenarists and actor use these moments as calm before the storms of bursting declamation.

The picture is Muni’s all the way, even when he is off screen.

Covering a period of the last half of the past century, action is laid in Paris, except for short interludes in England and on Devil’s Island, whither Dreyfus was banished by courtmartial after conspiracy charges that he betrayed military secrets to Germany. Although the release of Dreyfus is made the principal dramatic incident of the picture, the development of the character and career of Zola remains dominant.

By a series of interesting incidents in the early life of the writer his passion for truth is a relentless battle against wrong, and his affection for humanity are strikingly portrayed. Thus, the audience is informed of the derivation of his earlier novels of “Nana,” in which he stripped the Paris underworld of its glitter and laid it bare, and his other crusading works. In his late years he is ready for election to the French academy and to the recognition he has earned when he renounces fame and friends and, spurred by righteous indignation and patriotic fervor, he takes up the fight to free Dreyfus and purge the French army general staff of deceit and conspiracy.

In a work where the general ensemble has been excellently balanced, where the director, William Dieterle, has the benefit of an unusually effective screen play, and where no effort to curtail on production is evident, it is impossible to designate individual credits. Outstanding acting support is furnished by nearly a dozen players of whom Joseph Schildkraut as Dreyfus, Gale Sondergaard as his wife, and Erin O’Brien-Moore in a lesser role, as the inspiration for the conception of “Nana,” leave deep impressions. Mountings are of exceptional pretensions and costuming excellent and effective.

Racial theme is lightly touched upon, but impressive notwithstanding. There is discreet religious symbolism introduced.

“Zola” as film entertainment will appeal to showmen everywhere. It is a brilliant conception, admirably accomplished. An outstanding achievement from Hollywood.

Flin.

1937: Outstanding Production (Warner Bros.), Actor in a Supporting Role (Joseph Schildkraut), Writing–Screenplay (Norman Reilly Raine, Heinz Herald, Geza Herczeg)

Nominations: Actor (Paul Muni), Art Direction (Anton Grot), Assistant Director (Russ Saunders), Directing (William Dieterle), Music–Scoring (Warner Bros. Studio Music Department, Leo Forbstein, head of department. Score by Max Steiner), Sound Recording (Warner Bros. Studio Sound Department, Nathan Levinson, Sound Director), Writing–Original Story (Heinz Herald, Geza Herczeg)

The Life of Emile Zola

Production: Warner production and release. Stars Paul Muni. Features Gloria Holden, Gale Sondergaard and Joseph Schildkraut. Directed by William Dierterle. Screenplay by Heinz Hearald, Geza Herezeg and Norman Reilly Raine, from a story by Heinz Hearald and Herczeg.

Crew: Camera, Tony Gaudio. Running time 123 mins. Previewed at Warner's, Hollywood, June 28, '37.

With: Emile Zola - Paul Muni Alexandrine Zola - Gloria Holden Lucie Dreyfus - Gale Sondergaard Capt. Dreyfus - Joseph Schildkraut Major Henry - Robert Warwick Major Walsin-Esterhazy - Robert Barrat Coll. Picquart - Henry O'Neill Mathieu Dreyfus - Harry Davenport Gen. Boldsdeffre - Ralph Morgan Gen. Pellieux - Frank Mayo Gen. Gonse - Paul Everton Gen. Mercier - Gilbert Emery Violet Richards - Marcia Mae Jones Van Kassel - Frank Sheridan Anatole France - Morris Carnovsky Cezanne- Vladimir Sokoloil Clemenceau - Grant Mitchell Cavaignac - Montagu Love Maitre Labori - Donald Crisp Major Dort - Louis Caltrern De Lagorgue - Charles Richman Pierre Dreyfus - Dickie Moore

More Film

  • Sophia Antipolis

    Locarno in Los Angeles Film Review: 'Sophia Antipolis'

    There are two Sophias in French director Virgil Vernier’s clever, cunning, chilling fifth feature. The first is its setting, the eponymous “Sophia Antipolis,” a technology park in the south of France, a place self-consciously designed as an experiment in social engineering, where an international community of professionals would, it was hoped, create an environment of [...]

  • I Lost My Body

    Netflix Pickup ‘I Lost My Body,’ ‘Buñuel,’ ‘Away’ Top Annecy Festival

    ANNECY, France  — Fulfilling expectations, Jeremy Clapin’s “I Lost My Body, the subject of one of the highest-profile Netflix deals at this year’s Cannes, won this Saturday the Annecy Festival’s top Cristal Award of best feature plus, in a relatively rare Annecy double whammy, the festival’s Audience Award. The first was expected, the second a [...]

  • 'Fausto' Review: Andrea Bussmann's Beautuful, Inscrutable

    Locarno in Los Angeles Film Review: 'Fausto'

    In more ways than one, “Fausto” is a film that likes to keep its audience in the dark: The bulk of its imagery is thickly cloaked in velvety night, often barely illuminated but for pinpricks of moonlight or a flickering candle, sometimes to the point where viewers must strain and squint to identify what they’re [...]

  • Toy Story 4

    The 15 Best Films of 2019 (So Far)

    By now, audiences have caught on to the way American distributors tend to stockpile their quality movies for end-of-year award-season release, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t treasures to be found in the first two quarters. In fact, sometimes it’s the movies that aren’t making a self-important Oscar push that wind up hitting closest to [...]

  • Chris Hemsworth (H) with Em (Tessa

    'Men In Black: International' Taking in $26 Million Amid Franchise Fatigue

    North American moviegoers spurned sequels this weekend with Sony’s “Men in Black: International” heading for a modest $26 million debut while “Shaft” will finish with a dismal $7.3 million in seventh place. “Men in Black: International,” the fourth iteration of the sci-fi comedy franchise, is performing under expectations, which had been in the $30 million [...]

  • Night scenery of the Bund in

    Shanghai Festival Defies Gloom to Open on Upbeat Note

    The Chinese film industry may not yet have emerged from a “cold winter” production freeze, nor its box office kept pace with 2018. But but those inclement elements did not put a chill on the pageantry at the Shanghai International Film Festival. The opening ceremony for the festival’s 22nd edition went ahead Saturday with the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content