CreatorWarner Bros. Pictures Inc. present ; a Warner Bros. picture ; directed by William Dieterle ; screenplay by Norman Reilly Raine, Heinz Herald, Geza Herczeg ; story by Heinz Herald and Geza Herczeg
1 DVD (116 min.) : sound, black and white ; 4 3/4 in
Paul Muni (Emile Zola), Joseph Schildkraut (Capt. Alfred Dreyfus), Gale Sondergaard (Lucie Dreyfus), Donald Crisp (Maitre Labori), Gloria Holden (Alexandrine Zola), Erin O'Brien-Moore (Nana), Henry O'Neill (Colonel Picquart), Morris Carnovsky (Anatole France), Louis Calhern (Major Dort), John Litel (Charpentier), Ralph Morgan (Commander of Paris), Robert Barrat (Major Walsin-Esterhazy), Vladimir Sokoloff (Paul Cezanne), Harry Davenport (Chief of Staff), Robert Warwick (Major Henry), Charles Richman (M. Delagorgue), Gilbert Emery (Minister of War), Walter Kingsford (Colonel Sandherr), Paul Everton (Asst. Chief of Staff), Montagu Love (M. Cavalgnac), 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)
Photography, Tony Gaudio ; film editor, Warren Low ; music, Max Steiner ; art director, Anton Grot ; costumes by Milo Anderson and Ali Hubert
In 1862 Paris, Emile Zola is barely scratching out a living writing muckraking articles about the poverty of the French people and the corruption of their leaders. Until "Nana," about the life of a prostitute, becomes a smash hit and turns Zola into a celebrity, champion of the people. As he churns out a string of similar books that make him quite rich, his old friend Paul Cezanne tells him "An artist should remain poor." His determined intervention in the Dreyfus Affair, at the request of Dreyfus's wife Lucie, results in "J'accuse!" his famous denunciation of the Army, and leads to a conviction for libel. He flees to England, where he remains until granted amnesty. Unfortunately, he dies before the news that Dreyfus was exonerated and reinstated to full rank can reach him. Indicative of the mores of its time, during the course of this clear story about institutionalized anti-Semitism, the word "Jew" is never mentioned. And while most Hollywood biographies must be taken with a grain--if not a handful--of salt, the film makes a reasonable effort at accuracy and completeness.
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