The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936)




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Movie Info

"Every time Paul Muni parts his beard and looks through a microscope, we lose a million dollars." Producer Jack Warner's lament concerning Muni's historical dramas is cute enough, but hardly backed up by facts; the economically produced The Story of Louis Pasteur proved to be a surprise hit for the Brothers Warner. The Sheridan Gibney-Pierre Collings screenplay concentrates on Pasteur's tireless efforts to find a cure for anthrax and hydrophobia. The famed French scientist is continually challenged and thwarted by his principal rival, hidebound bacteriologist Dr. Charbonnet (Fritz Leiber). The film's climax, involving a desperate Pasteur, the immovable Charbonnet, Pasteur's ailing daughter (Anita Louise), and a hydrophobia-infected youngster (Dickie Moore), is straight out of the Curfew Shall Not Ring Tonight school of melodrama. Within the film's context, however, this contrivance works magnificently. Virtually thrown away by Warners upon its first release, The Story of Louis Pasteur was finally awarded class-A treatment when the picture proved to be favorite with audiences and critics alike; Paul Muni's Academy Award win was the mere icing on the cake. The film's success led to Warners' decision to go ahead with 1937's The Life of Emile Zola, also starring Muni. This time, the studio copped its first Best Picture Oscar.
Classics , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
MGM Home Entertainment


Paul Muni
as Louis Pasteur
Josephine Hutchinson
as Mme. Pasteur
Anita Louise
as Annette Pasteur
Donald Woods
as Jean Martel
Fritz Leiber
as Dr. Charbonnet
Henry O'Neill
as Dr. Emile Roux
Porter Hall
as Rossignol
Raymond Brown
as Radisse
Akim Tamiroff
as Dr. Zaranoff
Walter Kingsford
as Napoleon III
Iphigenie Castiglioni
as Empress Eugenie
Herbert Heywood
as Boncourt
Frank Reicher
as Dr. Pheiffer
Halliwell Hobbes
as Dr. Joseph Lister
Dickie Moore
as Phillip Meister
Herbert Corthell
as President Louis-Adolphe Thiers
Frank Mayo
as President Sadi Carnot
Robert Strange
as Magistrate
Mabel Colcord
as A Lady
Niles Welch
as Courier
Leonard Mudie
as Coachman
Eric Mayne
as Lord Chamberlain
Alphonse Ethier
as Finance Minister
Edward Van Sloan
as Chairman
C. Montague Shaw
as British Reporter
Otto Hoffman
as Farmer
Richard Alexander
as Burly Farmer
Baron Hesse
as Fat Doctor
Wheaton Chambers
as Alsatian
Leonid Snegoff
as Russian Ambassador
Fred Walton
as Government Inspector
Wilfred Lucas
as Reporter
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Critic Reviews for The Story of Louis Pasteur

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (2)

Expert casting and splendid production are the points in the film's favor, primarily. Paul Muni in the title role is at his very top form.

Full Review… | April 4, 2011
Top Critic

An excellent biography, just as it is a notable photoplay, dignified in subject, dramatic in treatment and brilliantly played by Paul Muni, Fritz Leiber, Josephine Hutchinson and many other members of the cast.

Full Review… | April 4, 2011
New York Times
Top Critic

Muni offers a fine characterization that shows the famed scientist as a man faced with extraordinary obstacles.

Full Review… | January 31, 2012
TV Guide

Oone of the most stirring and memorable of the great Warner Bros biopics.

Full Review… | January 31, 2012

This fictionlized tale of the great French scientist belongs to a cycle of Warner biopics of great men, many of whom were played by Paul Muni, who was Oscar nominated for this part (so was the film).

Full Review… | March 4, 2009

Audience Reviews for The Story of Louis Pasteur


Muni does the biopic over and over and over and over again in his career. Sometimes he falls short but often he is brilliant as he is here as Louis Pasteur.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


The movie is good. There is simply nothing exceptional about it besides Paul Muni's performance. The dialogue could be better and the supporting characters could be more interesting, but all in all, it isn't bad. It is simply well constructed, and that isn't a bad thing. Whilst it may be simple, it holds our attention, which is the doing of Muni's performance.

Willie Jones
Willie Jones

Outstanding biography of Louis Pasteur, with Paul Muni giving his usual outstanding performance, and this one won him an Oscar. This is yet another great Warner Brothers biography from the 1930's, impeccably produced.

James Higgins
James Higgins

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