The Life of Emile Zola
(DVD)

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Published:
[United States] : Turner Entertainment Co., [2005]., Burbank, CA :
Physical Desc:
1 videodisc (116 min.) : sound, black and white ; 4 3/4 in.
Rating:
MPAA Rating: Not rated; Canadian Home Video Rating: Rated G.
Status:
Belle Cooledge
DVD FICTION LIFE OF EM
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Description
The second of Paul Muni's biographical films for Warner Bros., the Oscar-winning The Life of Emile Zola is by far the best, even allowing for the dramatic license taken with the material. When first we meet French novelist and essayist Zola, he is starving in a Parisian garret with his painter friend, Paul Cezanne. Each time Zola attempts to write "the truth," he is stymied by governmental censors. Still, he is able to achieve both fame and fortune with the publication of "Nana," an unardorned and best-selling tale of a prostitute (whom we can safely assume was not quite as likeable or attractive as Erin O'Brien-Moore, who plays the novel's "role model"). The lion's share of the film is devoted to Zola's attempts to clear the reputation of Army captain Alfred Dreyfus (Joseph Schildkraut), who has been framed on a charge of treason by his superiors and condemned to Devil's Island. Publishing his famous manifesto "J'accuse," Zola leaves himself wide open for public condemnation and criminal prosecution. Though he delivers a brilliant self-defense in court, Zola is found guilty. Forced to flee to England, he continues railing against the unjust, corrupt military establishment, eventually forcing a retrial and exoneration of Dreyfus. Alas, Zola is killed in a freak accident at home before he can meet the liberated Dreyfus. At his funeral, Emile Zola is eulogized by Anatole France (Morris Carnovsky), who refers to the fallen crusader as "a moment of the conscience of man." For various reasons -- some dramatic, some legal -- the actual facts of "L'affaire Dreyfus" are altered by the Norman Reilly Raine/Heinz Herald/Geza Herczeg screenplay. The fact that Dreyfus was railroaded because he was Jewish is obscured; in fact, except for a very brief visual reference, the word "Jew" is never mentioned. Only those villains whose names were a matter of public record (Major Dort, Major Esterhazy) are specifically identified. Others are referred to as the Chief of Staff, the Minister of War, etc. to avoid lawsuits from their descendants (remember that the events depicted in the film, most of which take place between 1894 and 1902, were still within living memory in 1937). As for Dreyfus himself, he was not freed and restored to rank in 1902, the year of Zola's death, but in 1906-after being found guilty again in an 1899 retrial (Dreyfus died in 1935, outliving everyone else involved in the case). These historical gaffes can be forgiven in the light of the film's overall message: that a single small, clear voice can fight City Hall. If for nothing else, The Life of Emile Zola deserves classic status due to Paul Muni's towering performance, most notably in the unforgettable summation scene: "By all that I have done for France, by my works -- by all that I have written, I swear to you that Dreyfus is innocent. May all that melt away -- may my name be forgotten, if Dreyfus is not innocent. He is innocent ." ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
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Format:
DVD
Edition:
Special edition.
Language:
English
ISBN:
0790793075
UPC:
012569692527

Notes

General Note
Source material, Matthew Josephson's "Zola and his time."
General Note
Special features: The littlest diplomat [featurette] (19 min.); Romance Road [featurette] (19 min.); Ain't we got fun [cartoon featurette] (8 min.); 5/8/39 Lux Radio Theater broadcast [audio feature] (59 min.); Theatrical trailer (4 min.).
Creation/Production Credits
Photography, Tony Gaudio ; film editor, Warren Low ; music, Max Steiner ; art director, Anton Grot ; costumes by Milo Anderson and Ali Hubert.
Participants/Performers
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).
Date/Time and Place of Event
Originally produced as an American motion picture in 1937.
Description
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.
Target Audience
MPAA Rating: Not rated; Canadian Home Video Rating: Rated G.
System Details
DVD; NTSC; region 1; fullscreen presentation; Dolby Digital mono.
Language
In English; with optional subtitles in English, French, or Spanish ; closed captioned.
Awards
Academy Award, 1937: Best Picture (Warner Bros.) ; Best Writing, Screenplay (Norman Reilly Raine, Heinz Herald, Geza Herczeg) ; Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay--Heinz Herald, Geza Herczeg, Norman Reilly Raine; Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Joseph Schildkraut)
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Grouped Work ID:
e15cecc5-62fb-5218-34d2-eb3a953dd30b
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Record Information

Last Sierra Extract TimeOct 07, 2019 01:25:27 PM
Last File Modification TimeOct 08, 2019 02:01:27 AM
Last Grouped Work Modification TimeOct 08, 2019 01:58:53 AM

MARC Record

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24514|a The Life of Emile Zola /|c Warner 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.
250 |a Special edition.
257 |a United States|2 naf.
264 1|a [United States] :|b Turner Entertainment Co.,|c [2005].
264 2|a Burbank, CA :|b Distributed by Warner Home Video.
264 4|c ©2005.
300 |a 1 videodisc (116 min.) :|b sound, black and white ;|c 4 3/4 in.
336 |a two-dimensional moving image|b tdi|2 rdacontent.
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338 |a videodisc|b vd|2 rdacarrier.
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346 |b NTSC|2 rda.
347 |a video file|b DVD video|e region 1|2 rda.
380 |a Motion pictures|2 lcgft.
500 |a Source material, Matthew Josephson's "Zola and his time."
500 |a Special features: The littlest diplomat [featurette] (19 min.); Romance Road [featurette] (19 min.); Ain't we got fun [cartoon featurette] (8 min.); 5/8/39 Lux Radio Theater broadcast [audio feature] (59 min.); Theatrical trailer (4 min.).
5111 |a 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).
508 |a Photography, Tony Gaudio ; film editor, Warren Low ; music, Max Steiner ; art director, Anton Grot ; costumes by Milo Anderson and Ali Hubert.
518 |a Originally produced as an American motion picture in 1937.
538 |a DVD; NTSC; region 1; fullscreen presentation; Dolby Digital mono.
5218 |a MPAA Rating: Not rated; Canadian Home Video Rating: Rated G.
586 |a Academy Award, 1937: Best Picture (Warner Bros.) ; Best Writing, Screenplay (Norman Reilly Raine, Heinz Herald, Geza Herczeg) ; Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay--Heinz Herald, Geza Herczeg, Norman Reilly Raine; Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Joseph Schildkraut)
546 |a In English; with optional subtitles in English, French, or Spanish ; closed captioned.
520 |a 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.
650 0|a Video recordings for the hearing impaired.
650 0|a Authors|v Drama.
650 0|a Novelists, French|y 19th century|v Drama.
650 0|a Men|x Conduct of life|v Drama.
650 0|a Man-woman relationships|v Drama.
650 0|a Trials (Treason)|z France.
650 0|a Scandals|x Political aspects|z France|v Drama.
650 0|a Politics and literature|z France|v Drama.
650 0|a Antisemitism|z France|v Drama.
651 0|a France|x Intellectual life|y 19th century|v Drama.
651 0|a France|x Politics and government|y 19th century|v Drama.
651 0|a London (England)|v Drama.
651 0|a Paris (France)|v Drama.
655 7|a Feature films.|2 lcgft.
655 7|a Biographical films.|2 lcgft.
655 7|a Film adaptations.|2 lcgft.
655 7|a Video recordings for the hearing impaired.|2 lcgft.
7001 |a Dieterle, William,|d 1893-1972,|e film director.
7001 |a Raine, Norman Reilly,|d 1895-1971,|e screenwriter.
7001 |a Herald, Heinz,|e screenwriter.
7001 |a Herczeg, Géza,|d 1888-1964,|e screenwriter.
7001 |a Muni, Paul,|d 1895-1967,|e actor.
7001 |a Schildkraut, Joseph,|d 1895-1964,|e actor.
7001 |a Sondergaard, Gale,|d 1899-1985,|e actor.
7001 |a Crisp, Donald,|d 1880-1974,|e actor.
7001 |a Holden, Gloria,|d 1908-1991,|e actor.
7001 |a O'Brien-Moore, Erin,|d 1902-1979,|e actor.
7001 |a O'Neill, Henry,|d 1891-1961,|e actor.
7001 |a Carnovsky, Morris,|e actor.
7001 |a Calhern, Louis,|d 1895-1956,|e actor.
7001 |a Litel, John,|d 1892-1972,|e actor.
7001 |a Morgan, Ralph,|d 1883-1956,|e actor.
7001 |a Barrat, Robert,|d 1889-1970,|e actor.
7001 |a Sokoloff, Vladimir,|d 1889-1962,|e actor.
7001 |a Davenport, Harry,|d 1866-1949,|e actor.
7001 |a Warwick, Robert,|d 1878-1964,|e actor.
7001 |a Richman, Charles,|d 1870-1940,|e actor.
7001 |a Emery, Gilbert,|d 1875-1945,|e actor.
7001 |a Kingsford, Walter,|d 1881-1958,|e actor.
7001 |a Everton, Paul,|d 1868-1948,|e actor.
7001 |a Love, Montagu,|d 1877-1943,|e actor.
7001 |a Sheridan, Frank,|d 1869-1943,|e actor.
7001 |a Hare, Lumsden,|d 1875-1964,|e actor.
7001 |a Jones, Marcia Mae,|e actor.
7001 |a Roberts, Florence,|d 1861-1940,|e actor.
7001 |a Moore, Dick,|d 1925-|e actor.
7001 |a Steiner, Max,|d 1888-1971,|e composer (expression)
7001 |i Motion picture adaptation of (work):|a Josephson, Matthew,|d 1899-1978.|t Zola and his time.
7102 |a Warner Bros. Pictures (1923-1967),|e presenter.
7102 |a Turner Entertainment Co.,|e publisher.
7102 |a Warner Home Video (Firm),|e film distributor.
7300 |a Life of Emile Zola (Motion picture)
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