1937 **** 116 mins.
Here is a film that you honestly can not judge by its DVD cover. Yes, the title of the film is The Life of Emile Zola. Yes, it won the Oscar for Best Picture 1937. Yes, it stars a handsome hunk of man named Paul Muni. However, in the film, Paul Muni is not a handsome hunk of a man. He plays a poor, down-on-his-luck author with shaggy hair and a beard. The DVD cover is fashioned after the original posters from 1937, when it was common practice for studios to feature the famous leading man prominently on the poster, rather than artwork that adequately advertises the film. Don't get me wrong, though, I love the DVD cover. I think it's a beautiful cover with great spacing and colorization. It just doesn't portray the film properly.
That out of the way, this is a highly engaging and entertaining picture about a struggling writer who publishes a series of controversial, yet truthful, novels, gaining notoriety and riches. Then, he hears the tragic tale of a young soldier named Dreyfus, wrongfully court-martialed for treason. He writes a controversial letter of truth to the President, fighting for the rights of this poor soldier and his family. Based on an incredible true story, The Life of Emile Zola is a great motion picture. It's the first film, ever, to be nominated for 10 Academy Awards.
Original theatrical aspect ratio: 1.37:1
Norman Reilly Raine, Heinz Herald, and Geza Herczeg
Heinz Herald and Geza Herczeg