7.3/10
6,054
51 user 41 critic

The Life of Emile Zola (1937)

Not Rated | | Biography , Drama | 2 October 1937 (USA)
The biopic of the famous French muckraking writer and his involvement in fighting the injustice of the Dreyfuss Affair.

Director:

William Dieterle

Writers:

Norman Reilly Raine (screen play), Heinz Herald (screen play) | 4 more credits »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
Won 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Biography | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The ups and downs of Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., famed producer of extravagant stage revues, are portrayed.

Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: William Powell, Myrna Loy, Luise Rainer
Cimarron (1931)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A newspaper editor settles in an Oklahoma boom town with his reluctant wife at the end of the nineteenth century.

Director: Wesley Ruggles
Stars: Richard Dix, Irene Dunne, Estelle Taylor
Cavalcade (1933)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

The triumphs and tragedies of two English families, the upper-crust Marryots and the working-class Bridges, from 1899 to 1933 are portrayed.

Director: Frank Lloyd
Stars: Diana Wynyard, Clive Brook, Una O'Connor
Going My Way (1944)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Father Charles O'Mailey, a young priest at a financially failing Church in a tough neighborhood, gains support and inspires his superior.

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Bing Crosby, Barry Fitzgerald, Frank McHugh
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The rise and fall of a corrupt politician, who makes his friends richer and retains power by dint of a populist appeal.

Director: Robert Rossen
Stars: Broderick Crawford, John Ireland, Joanne Dru
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A tyrannical ship captain decides to exact revenge on his abused crew after they form a mutiny against him, but the sailor he targets had no hand in it.

Director: Frank Lloyd
Stars: Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, Franchot Tone
Certificate: Passed Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A pair of sisters from the vaudeville circuit try to make it big time on Broadway, but matters of the heart complicate the attempt.

Director: Harry Beaumont
Stars: Bessie Love, Anita Page, Charles King
Grand Hotel I (1932)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A group of very different individuals staying at a luxurious hotel in Berlin deal with each of their respective dramas.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford
Mrs. Miniver (1942)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A British family struggles to survive the first months of World War II.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Teresa Wright
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A man from a family of rich snobs becomes engaged to a woman from a good-natured but decidedly eccentric family.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Jean Arthur, James Stewart, Lionel Barrymore
Wings (1927)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Two young men, one rich, one middle class, who are in love with the same woman, become fighter pilots in World War I.

Directors: William A. Wellman, Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast
Stars: Clara Bow, Charles 'Buddy' Rogers, Richard Arlen
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A reporter pretends to be Jewish in order to cover a story on anti-Semitism, and personally discovers the true depths of bigotry and hatred.

Director: Elia Kazan
Stars: Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, John Garfield
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 Georges 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
Edit

Storyline

Fictionalized account of the life of famed French author Emile Zola. As portrayed in the film, he was a penniless writer sharing an apartment in Paris with painter Paul Cezanne when he finally wrote a best-seller, Nana. He has always had difficulty holding onto a job as he is quite outspoken, being warned on several occasions by the public prosecutor that he risks charges if he does not temper his writings. The bulk of the film deals with his involvement in the case of Captain Alfred Dreyfus who was falsely convicted of giving secret military information to the Germans and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devils Island. Antisemitism played an important role in the real-life case but is hardly mentioned in the film. Even after the military found definitive evidence that Dreyfus was innocent, the army decided to cover it up rather than face the scandal of having arbitrarily convicted the wrong man. Zola's famous letter, J'Accuse (I Accuse), led to his own trial for libel where he was ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Here Is True Greatness ! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 October 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Story of Emile Zola See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film cast includes four Oscar winners: Paul Muni, Joseph Schildkraut, Gale Sondergaard and Donald Crisp; and one Oscar nominee: Louis Calhern. See more »

Goofs

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: [reading from his letter "I Accuse"] I shall tell the truth. Because if I did not, my nights would be haunted by the spectre of an innocent man expiating under the most frightful torture a crime he never committed.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in David Holzman's Diary (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

La Marseillaise
(1792) (uncredited)
Written by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle
Variations often in the score
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
It has great passion, deep commitments, love, great music, and we get to know a bit more about French literature.
30 May 1999 | by macpherrSee all my reviews

William Dieterle directed this classic biography and was nominated for an Oscar for his work. This movie had ten Oscar nominations, and won best picture in 1938. Paul Muni (The Last Angry Man) was nominated for an Oscar for his performance as Émile Zola, one of the foremost writers in France. Zola and his best friend and confident painter Paul Cezanne, played by Russian born actor Vladimir Sokoloff (Taras Bulba, For Whom The Bell Tolls), who attend the Moscow Academy of Dramatic Art. The story takes place in Paris in 1862. Paul Cezanne and Émile Zola were friends when both were starting their careers. Through ups and downs Zola became financially successful long before Cezanne. He was married and had a successful career as an author. Paul Cezanne then decided to live in the country far away from the city, and told Zola not to be part of the establishment but to fight for truth and justice again. Émile Zola is living comfortable and even getting fat, and is about to became a member of the French Academy for the utmost writers, and to get honored by the Nobel society. He is approached by Lucie Dreyfus, played by Gale Sondergaard (Anna and the King of Siam), whose husband was unjustly court martialed and sent to Devil's Island (Papillion's prison home) because he was accused of betraying his country by disclosing military secrets. Mr. Dreyfuss' case is one of those passionate cases where anti-Semitism is also an issue. It is unbelievable that this specially inhumane trial took place in France, nation for Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality. That what Zola was fighting for.

The music by Max Steiner is beautiful. He was also nominated for an Oscar for best music score. Anatole France is also part of the story. My favorite scenes: the folding umbrellas, Zola getting his first pay check as a best seller author, the conversations between Zola and Paul Cezanne. The determination of Ms. Dreyfuss and she goes to talk to Zola, her last hope. My favorite quotes: "There are times when the most courageous thing is to be cowardly". This is a great biography. It is a Schindler's list type of story! It has great passion, deep commitments, love, great music, and we get to know a bit more about French literature. Thanks to my dad, who was passionate for literature and majored in languages, I was brought up with a library of books where one could find the internationally acclaimed classics. Émile Zola's works were among dad's favorite. That was what made me purchase the tape. I highly recommend it. You can learn a lot from this movie!


24 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 51 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed