IMDb > The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
The Life of Emile Zola
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The Life of Emile Zola (1937) More at IMDbPro »

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The Life of Emile Zola -- Winner for Best Picture, this biographical drama stars Paul Muni as the famed writer who risks his reputation to defend a Jewish army officer accused of treason.

Overview

User Rating:
7.3/10   4,432 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Norman Reilly Raine (screen play) &
Heinz Herald (screen play) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Life of Emile Zola on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
2 October 1937 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Here Is True Greatness ! See more »
Plot:
The biopic of the famous French muckraking writer and his involvement in fighting the injustice of the Dreyfuss Affair. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
Won 3 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 7 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Paul Muni at his best in a classic barnstorming biopic See more (40 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Paul Muni ... Emile Zola

Gale Sondergaard ... Lucie Dreyfus

Joseph Schildkraut ... Capt. Alfred Dreyfus

Gloria Holden ... Alexandrine Zola

Donald Crisp ... Maitre Labori
Erin O'Brien-Moore ... Nana (as Erin O'Brien Moore)

John Litel ... Charpentier
Henry O'Neill ... Colonel Picquart
Morris Carnovsky ... Anatole France

Louis Calhern ... Major Dort

Ralph Morgan ... Commander of Paris
Robert Barrat ... Major Walsin-Esterhazy
Vladimir Sokoloff ... Paul Cezanne

Grant Mitchell ... Georges Clemenceau

Harry Davenport ... Chief of Staff
Robert Warwick ... Major Henry
Charles Richman ... M. Delagorgue
Gilbert Emery ... Minister of War
Walter Kingsford ... Colonel Sandherr
Paul Everton ... Assistant Chief of Staff
Montagu Love ... M. Cavaignac
Frank Sheridan ... M. Van Cassell
Lumsden Hare ... Mr. Richards
Marcia Mae Jones ... Helen Richards
Florence Roberts ... Madame Zola

Dickie Moore ... Pierre Dreyfus
Rolla Gourvitch ... Jeanne Dreyfus
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Arthur Aylesworth ... Chief Censor (uncredited)
Maurice Black ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Stanley Blystone ... (uncredited)
Egon Brecher ... Brucker (uncredited)
Iphigenie Castiglioni ... Madame Charpentier (uncredited)
Robert Cummings Sr. ... Gen. Gillian (uncredited)
Frank Darien ... Albert (uncredited)
Franklyn Farnum ... (uncredited)
Holmes Herbert ... Commander of Paris (uncredited)
Paul Irving ... La Rue (uncredited)
Alexander Leftwich ... Maj. D'Aboville (uncredited)
Eric Mayne ... Member of the Court (uncredited)
Frank Mayo ... Mathieu Dreyfus (uncredited)
Alex Novinsky ... Member of the Court (uncredited)
Moroni Olsen ... Capt. Guignet (uncredited)

Frank Reicher ... M. Perrenx (uncredited)
Walter O. Stahl ... Sen. Scheurer-Kestner (uncredited)
Wilhelm von Brincken ... Swartzoppen (uncredited)
Pierre Watkin ... Prefect of Police (uncredited)
Dolores Weisenfreund ... Small Role (uncredited)

Harry Worth ... Lieutenant (uncredited)

Directed by
William Dieterle 
 
Writing credits
Norman Reilly Raine (screen play) &
Heinz Herald (screen play) &
Geza Herczeg (screen play)

Heinz Herald (story) and
Geza Herczeg (story)

Matthew Josephson (source material "Zola and His Time")

Produced by
Henry Blanke .... associate producer (uncredited)
Hal B. Wallis .... executive producer (uncredited)
Jack L. Warner .... executive producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Max Steiner 
 
Cinematography by
Tony Gaudio (photography)
 
Film Editing by
Warren Low (film editor)
 
Art Direction by
Anton Grot 
 
Set Decoration by
Albert C. Wilson (uncredited)
 
Costume Design by
Milo Anderson (costumes by)
Ali Hubert (costumes by)
 
Makeup Department
Perc Westmore .... makeup artist
Gordon Bau .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Norbert A. Myles .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Irving Rapper .... assistant director (uncredited)
Russell Saunders .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Harper Goff .... set designer (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Leo F. Forbstein .... musical director
Hugo Friedhofer .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Irving Rapper .... dialogue director
S. Charles Einfeld .... press representative (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
116 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Argentina:18 (TV rating) | Brazil:Livre | Canada:(Banned) (Quebec) (theatrical release) | Canada:G (video rating) | Finland:K-16 | Netherlands:14 (1938) | USA:TV-G | USA:Not Rated (DVD Rating) | USA:Approved (PCA #3212)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
To research his role, Paul Muni read all of Émile Zola's works, researched the entire Alfred Dreyfus affair and experimented with different types of make-up designs with the help of leading film make-up artist, Perc Westmore.See more »
Goofs:
Factual errors: The lettering on the door to Clemenceau's office at the newspaper misspells his first name "George" instead of the correct French spelling, "Georges".See more »
Quotes:
Émile Zola:Life is tricky.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in The Brothers Warner (2007)See more »
Soundtrack:
La MarseillaiseSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
11 out of 17 people found the following review useful.
Paul Muni at his best in a classic barnstorming biopic, 5 April 2005
Author: TrevorAclea from London, England

'The Life of Emile Zola' is more about the Dreyfuss affair than the author's life – only Nana is given more than a passing nod (Germinal gets 30 seconds of screen time while the rest of his novels are dismissed in a montage of covers) while his demise is signposted from the very first scene – and it does fall prey to the usual biopic problems ("Nana, pull up a chair next to Cezanne"), but it's such terrific entertainment, who cares? Muni is great value as Zola, much like the off screen young Chaplin in the early scenes before becoming the great man of letters, where he walks the tightrope between over and underplaying, and he's given two great set piece speeches – J'accuse and his address to the court – that are foolproof crowdpleasers that he handles with relish and aplomb. It's like one of Warners' crusading social issue pictures that just happens to have been set in the late 19th century and shot on an epic scale, and it has an immediacy and sense of moral outrage that is surprisingly powerful and deeply felt and even, ultimately, quite moving. Dated, yes, but undeniably impressive stuff despite Donald Crisp's very unfortunate haircut.

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