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The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936)

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

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(story and screenplay), (story and screenplay)
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Won 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Dr. Jean Martel
Fritz Leiber ...
Dr. Charbonnet
...
...
Dr. Rossignol
Raymond Brown ...
Dr. Radisse
...
Dr. Zaranoff
Halliwell Hobbes ...
Dr. Lister
...
Dr. Pfeiffer
...
Ruth Robinson ...
Mrs. Meister
Walter Kingsford ...
Iphigenie Castiglioni ...
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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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Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

February 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Louis Pasteur  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Hal B. Wallis originally rejected Sheridan Gibney's script. He wanted the movie to be a college romance. Star Paul Muni had script control in his contract, so he 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

A newspaper is shown announcing that the government (of France) is appropriating grazing land. The text surrounding the featured item mentions dollars and the Bronx, indicating the text was likely taken from a US newspaper. 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

Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: Paul Muni (1962) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Decent biography of Muni never mentions "pasteurized milk"...
11 October 2009 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

PAUL MUNI gives an eloquent performance as Louis Pasteur in this abbreviated biography of his life which never has time to mention some of his other achievements, such as pasteurized milk. Instead, it concentrates on the difficulties he has of convincing any of the medical experts that microbes are the cause of disease. His experiments with finding a cure for anthrax and rabies are at the centerpiece of the story.

JOSEPHINE HUTCHINSON is his devoted and loyal wife who has to remind him to eat dinner when he's caught up in his experiments with animals to prove his theories. ANITA LOUIS and DONALD WOODS provide what little romantic interest there is in the tale, strictly cardboard characters little more than ciphers.

Muni ages convincingly without the use of heavy make-up and won a Best Actor Oscar for his detailed performance. HALLIWELL HOBBES as Dr. Lister, AKIM TAMIROFF as Dr. Zaranoff, PORTER HALL as Dr. Rossignol, and FRITZ LEIBER as his nemesis, Dr. Charbonnet, are excellent in supporting roles.

Nicely directed by William Dieterle.


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