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The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936)

Unrated  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  February 1936 (USA)
7.4
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The biography of the pioneering French microbiologist who helped revolutionize agriculture and medicine.

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Title: The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936)

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Cast

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

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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Details

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Release Date:

February 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Louis Pasteur  »

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(Turner library print)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Hal Wallis originally rejected Sheridan Gibney's script. Wallis wanted the movie to be a college romance. The star, Paul Muni, had script control in his contract, so the actor wrote across the top of the screenplay, "I approve this script as written." Warner Bros. had to film Gibney's original script, which went on to win an Oscar. From "Film Crazy" by Patrick McGilligan, St. Martin's Press, 1983; and "Actor: The Life & Times of Paul Muni" by Jerome Lawrence, 1974. See more »

Goofs

In the movie Pasteur's daughter Annette marries Matel. In actual fact Pasteur did not have any daughter by the name of Annette, her name was Marie Louise Pasteur,and she married René Vallery-Radot. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Louis Pasteur: [speaking to the Emperor] Sire, the hospitals of Paris are pesthouses. There's scarcely a doctor in the city who's not carrying death on his hands and instruments.
Dr. Charbonnet: Because of microbes, Monsieur? Your private menagerie of invisible beasts?
Dr. Louis Pasteur: Exactly. Doctor Charbonnet could see them for himself if he took the trouble to use his microscope. He could watch them multiply into murderous millions. They breed in filth. They may start from the gutters of Paris tonight and by tomorrow claim some mother ...
[...]
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Connections

Featured in History Brought to Life (1950) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Nice Warner Brothers bio
16 February 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Paul Muni has the title role in "The Story of Louis Pasteur," a 1935 film also starring Josephine Hutchinson, Anita Louise, Donald Woods, and Fritz Lieber.

The biopic focuses on Pasteur's work in sterilization, rabies, and anthrax, and includes his inoculation of the small boy Joseph Meister (Dickie Moore) which is a famous - and risky - moment in Pasteur's life. Strangely, there is nothing about pasteurization, although with a great scientist who was responsible for so many innovations, you can't show everything. And certainly the rabies and anthrax stories are more dramatic.

Some of the film, I believe, is fictionalized - his nemesis, Dr. Charbonnet, was probably created to represent some of the criticism Pasteur faced in his lifetime. The love affair between his assistant, Dr. Martel (Donald Woods) and Pasteur's daughter Annette doesn't seem to be true either. Typical Hollywood.

Nevertheless, this is a reverent biography with a strong performance by Muni and good work by the rest of the cast. It seems crazy to think that before Pasteur, doctors did not sterilize instruments and wash their hands, but apparently, they didn't.

Good movie.


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