- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Most of this 1937 film deals with Zola's involvement in the Dreyfus Affair. It is telling that a crucial aspect of the affair,anti-semitism, is never mentioned. Clearly the tenor of the times made Hollywood fearful of openly tackling the issue, in spite of what was happening in Nazi Germany. Nonetheless, those of the public at the time who knew that Dreyfus was Jewish and was the victim of anti-semitism could see the film as a veiled blow against intolerance.
The Life of Emile Zola
- Dashiell Barnes
This sincere biography of the famed writer's career won the Best Picture Oscar of '37. Muni inhabits the title character, earning an Oscar nomination, and as the victimized Jewish Captain, Schildkraut won the Best Supporting award. The Oscar-winning story's seriousness against overcoming prejudice is impressive & the courtroom scenes are played-out magnificently. One of the greatest biopic's that won Best Picture. I give it a 4.5/5.
The Great Muni
- David Atkins
Paul Muni was WB's greatest star in the 30's and his pictures brought great pretige to WB such as The Life of Emile Zola,Juarez, Story of Louis Pasteur. ( The Good Earth was on loan to MGM). Muni was a quirky man who had his wife Bella Muni on the stage and took directions from her as well as the Director, Hal Wallis said only because of Muni's genius did the studio tolerate such antics. I love this movie and Muni is brilliant.Has TCM scheduled a Paul Muni day with Good Earth,The Life of Emile Zola, Scarfate, ....Chain Gang, Juarez, The Last Angry Man,?? A brilliant artist. When he left WB his career faded, and made only one great film in his later years The Last Angry Man at Columbia which desevedly won him an Oscar nomination.Muni turned down The Pawnbroker. He would have been brilliant.
Portrait of a Crusading Writer.
- Frank Harris Horn
Paul Muni gives one of the most memorable performances of his career as he stars in William Dieterle's Oscar-winning drama about the 19th-century French writer, Emile Zola (1840-1902). Muni as Zola takes on political and military corruption and injustice in France to help a Jewish army officer, played by Oscar winner, Joseph Schildkraut, who has been charged with treason. The cast gives powerful performances in this equally high-powered drama. William Dieterle's direction is also superb, which earned him an Oscar nomination. The movie also won two more Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. Also starring Gale Sondergaard, Donald Crisp, Gloria Holden, Henry O'Neill, Grant Mitchell, Louis Calhern, Erin O'Brien-Moore, John Litel, Morris Carnovsky, Robert Barrat, Vladimir Sokoloff, Harry Davenport, Florence Roberts, Robert Warwick, Montagu Love, Walter Kingsford, Marcia Mae Jones & Dickie Moore.
- Jarrod McDonald
But a very important film and worth seeing. I do wish it had been told with more subtlety...Muni's work seems a bit stagey as does the entire production, but some of the speeches are not to be missed. And the film is populated with some of the best character actors in the business, like Louis Calhern and Henry Davenport.
The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
- James Higgins
Paul Muni is superb, as he always is in this fine classic. The subject matter tends to be a bit boring at times, but the production is so fine and the performances are memorable. Good attention to detail.
Historic & entertaining
Great,well acted/directed movie of historical/inspirational importance. I saw this on Television quite a while ago.Movies like this are not only greatly entertaining(when well acted/directed,like this one is),but also,highly inspirational...like story of Will Rodgers, Abraham Lincoln, Apollo 13,etc.etc. I believe audiences of classical film & literature will treasure this, as much as I have appreciated all films from the TCM archives. Thank you