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:
7.4/10   4,358 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:
Fine acting, poor history 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:Approved (PCA #3212)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Writers Heinz Herald and Geza Herczeg initially took the project to Ernst Lubitsch at Paramount who immediately recognized the potential of the film. He also knew that Paul Muni was the only actor capable of pulling off Émile Zola but Muni was contracted to Warner Brothers at the time, so Lubitsch sold the project on to Warners.See more »
Goofs:
Revealing mistakes: When Nana comes into the café from the snow, the artificial snow stays on her clothes long after real snow would have melted, then suddenly in a second it disappears with the next cut.See more »
Quotes:
Émile Zola:Life is tricky.See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
La MarseillaiseSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
33 out of 43 people found the following review useful.
Fine acting, poor history, 6 July 2000
Author: Erich Mees (desscribe1@aol.com) from Dunwoody, Georgia, USA

I highly recommend "The Life of Emile Zola" for the brilliant performances of Paul Muni, Gale Sondergaard, and Joseph Schildkraut. (Although I still must admit I'm surprised by Schildkraut's Oscar victory...although he certainly does a good job as Alfred Dreyfus, the role doesn't really give him much opportunity to demonstrate his talents. Dreyfus is not shown in any depth; his role consists almost entirely of protesting his innocence and languishing in prison.)

Strong performances aside, though, I do have some problems with the film. It strikes me as very odd that a film that makes such a big deal about "the truth" is so hesitant at actually depicting it. One of the key issues of the Dreyfus affair, anti-semitism, is never even brought up. The only reference to Dreyfus' Judaism is a passing glimpse on his personnel papers. The filmmakers' reluctance to address such an important part of the story does a disservice to history.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (40 total) »

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The best from the first 10 Oscar winners mat-michalski
When Dreyfus is stripped of his rank... Hypatia42
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Paul Muni Fred-333
Casting against the grain oldblackandwhite
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