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 ...
HERE IS TRUE GREATNESS! (print ad - Lubbock Morning Avalanche - Texan Theatre - Lubbock, Texas - March 8, 1938 - all caps)
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Did You Know?
Studio boss Jack L. Warner
, who was himself Jewish, personally ordered that the word "Jew" be removed from all dialogue in this movie about the Alfred Dreyfus
Affair, apparently in order to make the drama more universal and not to offend the Nazi regime and hurt business for the film in Germany. (Source: Ben Urwand
in his controversial 2013 study, "The Collaboration: Hollywood's Pact With Adolf Hitler
".) However, the word does appear on screen in a single shot of Dreyfus' army file, where the audience can read: "Religion: Jew". See more
The young Zola is shown sharing a garret with Paul Cezanne. While they were friends, they did not live together in Paris. Also, they are shown as being friends long after Zola published the novel L'Oeuvre, whose main character is based on Cezanne. In fact, the book ended their friendship. See more
Life is tricky.
Featured in La saga Warner Bros
Written by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle
Variations often in the score See more