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
After playing a series of hard-bitten roles in films like Scarface (1932) and Black Fury (1935), Paul Muni lobbied hard for a change of pace. Jack L. Warner, head of Warner Brothers, wasn't keen on his star taking such a change of direction but eventually relented, effectively opening up a tidal wave of biopics that became the mainstay of Warner Brothers' output in the late 1930s and early 1940s. See more »
In the movie Pasteur's daughter Annette marries Matel. In actual fact Pasteur did not have any daughter by the name of Annette, her name was Marie Louise Pasteur,and she married René Vallery-Radot. See more »
In 19th century France, a ridiculed chemist branching out into medicine is called a charlatan by Europe's most prestigious doctors, even after he finds a vaccine for anthrax in sheep; next, he tackles hydrophobia in dogs, then humans. Medical history, compressed and simplified for the sake of popular entertainment, but no less rewarding for it. Paul Muni gives an impressive, Oscar-winning performance as Louis Pasteur, so fiercely dedicated to his findings and the results they receive, he drives himself to a partial stroke. One might think Pasteur as a family man might be difficult to live with, yet his loved ones merely beam and glow with pride, as does the opposition (seen as ego-fed and pig-headed) once Pasteur's experiments pay off. It's an awfully brief biography at just 85 minutes, yet it certainly has charm and moments of solid drama. **1/2 from ****
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