The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936)

Unrated  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  February 1936 (USA)
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The biography of the pioneering French microbiologist who helped revolutionize agriculture and medicine.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Josephine Hutchinson ...
Dr. Jean Martel
Fritz Leiber ...
Dr. Charbonnet
Henry O'Neill ...
Porter Hall ...
Dr. Rossignol
Raymond Brown ...
Dr. Radisse
Dr. Zaranoff
Halliwell Hobbes ...
Dr. Lister
Dr. Pfeiffer
Ruth Robinson ...
Mrs. Meister
Walter Kingsford ...
Iphigenie Castiglioni ...
Empress Eugénie


In 1860 Paris, chemist Louis Pasteur is considered a quack within the medical community for advocating that doctors and surgeons wash their hands and boil their instruments to destroy microbes that can kill their patients. He came across this belief when discovering microscopic organisms in sour wine, the organisms which could be killed if heated sufficiently. The belief among the scientific community at large is that the organisms are the result of disease and not the cause. This belief is despite the fact that thirty percent of women die in childbirth due to child bed disease, accounting for twenty thousand annual deaths in Paris alone. The debate takes Pasteur all the way to a meeting with Emperor Napoleon III and his physician, Dr. Charbonnet, who is one of the leading opponents of Pasteur. Several years later - France now a republic - much of Pasteur's reputation changes as a government sanctioned experiment with anthrax and sheep shows that a vaccine created by Pasteur proves ... Written by Huggo

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Release Date:

February 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Louis Pasteur  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


After playing a series of hard-bitten roles in films like Scarface (1932) and Black Fury (1935), Paul Muni lobbied hard for a change of pace. Jack L. Warner, head of Warner Brothers, wasn't keen on his star taking such a change of direction but eventually relented, effectively opening up a tidal wave of biopics that became the mainstay of Warner Brothers' output in the late 1930s and early 1940s. See more »


Pasteur refers to the "rabies virus" prior to completing development of his vaccine and immunization of Joseph Meister in 1885, but the idea of a non-bacterial pathogen didn't exist until 1892, and the term "virus" itself was coined when the first (tobacco mosaic) was isolated in 1898. See more »


[last lines]
[addressing The Academy of Medicine - directing his remarks to the young men in the balcony]
Dr. Louis Pasteur: You young men - doctors and scientists of the future - do not let yourselves be tainted by apparent skepticism; nor discouraged by the sadness of certain hours that creep over nations. Do not become angry at your opponents, for no scientific theory has ever been accepted without opposition. Live in the serene peace of libraries and laboratories. Say to yourselves, first, "What have I done for...
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Spoofed in Have You Got Any Castles? (1938) See more »

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User Reviews

A fine example of what Hollywood has forgotten how to do
4 April 1999 | by (San José, Costa Rica) – See all my reviews

"The Stroy of Louis Pasteur" is an example of Hollywood's Golden Era at its best. The first of the Warner Bros "biopics", it can boast of a great performance by Paul Muni, with none of the mannerisms that became a trade mark in the last and sorry years of his career. It was an example of the "good citizenship" that Warner Broa boasted of: a highly educational film that at the same time was very entertaining. The screen play was masterful and won the Oscar it the deserved. Authors Sheridan Gibney and Pierre Collings were able to dramatize scientific struggles and investigations. This was also the beginning of the most fruitful period in William Dieterle's career, an from that moment on he shared with Michael Curtiz the top assignments at Warner. It is now known that The Story of Louis Pasteur was made with a very low budget. You don't notice it. It is a wonderful show, as was the following year "The Life of Emile Zola" and, with some reservations, "Juarez" in 1939. There are notable performances in the picture by Fritz Leiber and Akim Tamiroff among others.

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