When a death row prisoner tells him he wouldn't have led a life of crime if only he had had one friend as a child, Father Edward Flanagan decides to do something about. An advocate of child... See full summary »
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
This film propelled William Dieterle to the top rank of directors at Warner Brothers, meaning he was given the plum assignments. Fellow European émigré Michael Curtiz (Dieterle was German, Curtiz was Hungarian) was also in this exclusive club. See more »
This movie is about a Frenchman, and is set in France; however, the written and printed texts are in English. See more »
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.
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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This is a great film that is also very historically and scientifically correct. Almost everything in the movie REALLY happened to the real Louis Pasteur. I am a high school biology teacher and I show this film every year when we study viruses and bacteria. When I tell the students that it is a black and white film from 1935, I get moans and words of disapproval. But every year after they have viewed the film almost all students come away legitimately liking the film.
Paul Muni's performance is extraordinary and may be the best performance of his entire career. I highly recommend watching this film. It was nominated for BEST PICTURE, Paul Muni won BEST LEAD ACTOR, it won BEST WRITER, and won BEST EDITING that year.
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