Directed by William Dieterle, "The Life of Emile Zola" is superior film making. The film starts out tracing the early life of Emile Zola, almost as a montage and moves rapidly towards the seminal moment in Zola's life. The Dreyfuss Affair is at center stage.
Few actors in the history of film equal the raw talent and career as Paul Muni. Muni, gives life to Zola in his indefatigable effort to see justice is done. Joseph Schildkraut won a Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Captain Dreyfuss, a man falsely accused of spying for the Germans and sentenced to Devil's Island.
It is subtly asserted that Dreyfuss being Jewish is the motive behind the frame and subsequent cover up.
The supporting cast is fine throughout, and this stands tall as one of the great courtroom dramas ever filmed, driven by Emile Zola's pursuit of truth and justice.