IMDb > The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
The Life of Emile Zola
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

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

Photos (See all 14 | slideshow)

Overview

User Rating:
7.4/10   3,824 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Down 4% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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:
THE LIFE OF EMILE ZOLA (William Dieterle, 1937) ***1/2 See more (39 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)
Create a character page for: ?

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
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


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies
Create a character page for: ?

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
116 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Brazil:Livre | Canada:(Banned) (Quebec) (theatrical release) | Canada:G (video rating) | Finland:K-16 | Netherlands:14 (1938) | USA:TV-G | USA:Approved (PCA #3212)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The same story was later told in Jose Ferrer's film I Accuse! (1958) which flopped badly despite a screenplay by Gore Vidal.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:Why didn't Picquart say anything?
Lucie Dreyfus:Colonel Picquart is a good officer. He kept silent at the request of his superiors.
Émile Zola:You mean they KNEW and they ordered him to suppress the truth? Why,that's monstrous!
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.
9 out of 10 people found the following review useful.
THE LIFE OF EMILE ZOLA (William Dieterle, 1937) ***1/2, 23 August 2006
Author: MARIO GAUCI (marrod@melita.com) from Naxxar, Malta

Of Paul Muni's three biographical films made at Warner Bros. and directed by William Dieterle (the others were THE STORY OF LOUIS PASTEUR [1936] and JUAREZ [1939]), this was the only one which had never been shown on TV in my neck of the woods; ironically, it was the first to make it to DVD - but, then again, it is the most highly-regarded of them! Still, given the film's reputation (Best Picture Oscar Winner, Leonard Maltin rates it **** in his "Movies & Video Guide"), I somehow expected a masterpiece - but, personally, I feel that Dieterle's THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER (1941) and THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1939) are greater achievements. Even so, it's been sometime since I watched a vintage old-style Hollywood film; of late, I've mostly been concentrating on Euro-Cult and World Cinema stuff - but, really, there's no beating the professionalism and sheer entertainment value of a product from the cinema's Golden Age!

The film strikes a good balance between Zola's literary career and his struggles for social justice: the latter is mostly devoted to the Dreyfus affair, a veritable cause celebre at the time (cinematically treated two more times in DREYFUS [1931] and I ACCUSE [1958], neither of which I've watched though the latter had turned up some years back on late-night Italian TV!), culminating in one of the finest courtroom scenes ever filmed. Production values are top-notch, the Oscar-winning script appropriately literate (though the constant speechifying and the film's two-hour length - by contrast, LOUIS PASTEUR had been less than 90 minutes but, then, the epic and star-studded JUAREZ was longer still - make for a somewhat heavy-going experience) and Dieterle's handling virtually impeccable; the only unpersuasive aspect, perhaps, is the one-dimensional portrayal of the corrupt French military who callously sent Dreyfus to Devil's Island for treason, and left him there to rot for years - even after they had found absolute proof of his innocence, because that would have meant admitting to a mistake!

The cast is filled with wonderful characters actors whose familiarity - and reliability - allows utmost audience involvement every step of the way, despite Hollywood's typically idealized viewing of events. Best of all, naturally, are Muni as Zola (simply brilliant, especially during his show-stopping speech at the trial, and who even ages convincingly!) and Schildkraut (a touching Dreyfus who, in spite of his relatively brief appearance, managed to walk off with the Best Supporting Actor Oscar - though, personally, I would have voted for H.B. Warner in LOST HORIZON [1937]!).

Unfortunately, the audio level on Warner's otherwise exemplary DVD is rather low; the supplements include three vintage shorts (described in more detail below), as well as the full 1-hour broadcast of a radio adaptation of the script (obviously compressed but also including some minor additions) - presented by Leslie Howard (who, at the end, even interviews William Dieterle!) and featuring Muni himself, accompanied by Josephine Hutchinson (stepping in for Gloria Holden, who had played Zola's wife in the film).

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (39 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
The most completes film actor of all-time jrl0726
When Dreyfus is stripped of his rank... skindili
The best from the first 10 Oscar winners mat-michalski
Donald Crisp bkutach
Paul Muni Fred-333
Casting against the grain oldblackandwhite
See more »

Recommendations

If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Fury Fair Game Passage to Marseille I Confess Little Ashes
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Biography section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.