The Life of Emile Zola

Synopsis: Fictionalized account of the life of famed French author Emile Zola. As portrayed in the film, he was a penniless writer sharing an apartment in Paris with painter Paul Cezanne when he finally wrote a best-seller, Nana. He has always had difficulty holding onto a job as he is quite outspoken, being warned on several occasions by the public prosecutor that he risks charges if he does not temper his writings. The bulk of the film deals with his involvement in the case of Captain Alfred Dreyfus who was falsely convicted of giving secret military information to the Germans and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devils Island. Antisemitism played an important role in the real-life case but is hardly mentioned in the film. Even after the military found definitive evidence that Dreyfus was innocent, the army decided to cover it up rather than face the scandal of having arbitrarily convicted the wrong man. Zola's famous letter, J'Accuse (I Accuse), led to his own trial for libel where he was fo
Genre: Biography, Drama
Director(s): William Dieterle
Production: MGM Home Entertainment
  Won 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 7 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
116 min

to your work and stop writing trash.

- What? Is that a bad exchange for a job?

- A very bad exchange, Monsieur La Rue.

Here is your pay

up to the end of the month.

Get out.

- I'm very grateful to you.

- What?

For allowing me to devote

all my time to my writing.

Then go ahead with your scribbling.

And maybe a lean stomach

will teach you better!

But a fat stomach sticks out too far,

Monsieur La Rue.

It prevents you from seeing

what's going on around you.

While you grow fatter and richer

publishing your nauseating confectionary...

...I shall become a mole,

digging here, rooting there.

Stirring up the whole rotten mess

where life is hard, raw and ugly.

You will not like the smell of my books.

Neither will the public prosecutor.

But when the stench is strong enough,

maybe something will be done about it.

Good day!

You there! Hold on!

- Hold on!

- Stop yelling and let us sleep.

A woman just jumped into the river.

She's better off than all of these.

- Why weren't the safety doors closed?

- Safety doors?

- They don't waste money on safety doors.

- Hey, you!

Get away from here and stay away.

It is true. All these things are true.

I saw them with my own eyes.

Print this about the uproar

in the Chamber of Deputies.

The military clique howling Clemenceau

down because he told them that...

...the army was honeycombed with graft and

warned them not to provoke the Prussians.

I should bother.

They're only space-fillers at best.

I'll give you 10 franc for the lot.

Take it or leave it.

- But, monsieur, l...

- Ten franc.

Cecile! Antoinette! The police!

- Come on, get in there!

- Come on, get in here!

Out, out, out.


Sit here.

- The...

- Come along, you.

Sit still. This lady's with us.

- Leave her alone.

- Then what is her name?

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Norman Reilly Raine

Norman Reilly Raine (23 June 1894 – 19 July 1971) was an American screenwriter, creator of "Tugboat Annie" and winner of an Oscar for the screenplay of The Life of Emile Zola (1937). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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"The Life of Emile Zola" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 4 Apr. 2020. <>.

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