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The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936)

Unrated  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  February 1936 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 1,445 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 6 critic

The biography of the pioneering French microbiologist who helped revolutionize agriculture and medicine.

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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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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)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

An electrician for Warner Bros. studio came up to Paul Muni after an advanced screening of the film and told him that his 9-year old son asked him to buy him a microscope because of Muni's performance. Even though he went on to win the coveted Oscar Muni said that this was the greatest compliment he had ever received and that all other accolades meant nothing compared to that compliment. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Dr. Louis Pasteur: Jean, how many dogs have we left?
Dr. Jean Martel: Ten.
Dr. Louis Pasteur: Are they well? Healthy?
Dr. Jean Martel: In perfect condition. They've never been exposed.
Dr. Louis Pasteur: Give them hydrophobia.
Dr. Jean Martel: [in disbelief] You mean...?
Dr. Louis Pasteur: Give them hydrophobia.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in A Day at the Races (1937) 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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