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The Life of Emile Zola (1937)

3.7 of 5 from 48 ratings
1h 56min
  • General info
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Set in the mid through late 19th century, it depicts Zola's friendship with Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne, and his rise to fame through his prolific writing, with particular focus on his involvement late in life in the Dreyfus affair. Struggling writer Émile Zola (Paul Muni) shares a drafty Paris attic with his friend, painter Paul Cézanne (Vladimir Sokoloff). A chance encounter with a street prostitute (Erin O'Brien-Moore) hiding from a police raid inspires his first bestseller, Nana, an exposé of the steamy underside of Parisian life. Other successful books follow.
Zola becomes rich and famous; he marries Alexandrine (Gloria Holden) and settles down to a comfortable life in his mansion. One day, his old friend Cézanne, still poor and unknown, visits him before leaving the city, and tells Zola that with his success he has become complacent, a far cry from the zealous reformer of his youth. Meanwhile, a French secret agent steals a letter addressed to a military officer in the German embassy. The letter confirms there is a spy within the top French army staff. With little thought, the army commanders decide that Jewish Captain Alfred Dreyfus (Joseph Schildkraut) is the traitor, is courtmartialed and imprisoned on Devil's Island in then French Guyana...
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Norman Reilly Raine, Heinz Herald
Geza Herczeg, Max Steiner
Classics, Drama

1938 Oscar Best Supporting Actor

1938 Oscar Best Picture

1938 Oscar Best Screen Play

Release Date:
Not available for rental
Run Time:
116 minutes
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
B & W

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