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Quiz about The Life of Emile Zola
Quiz about The Life of Emile Zola

The Life of Emile Zola Trivia Quiz


As part of the third Amazing Race, the Four Winds have written this quiz about the 1937 Best Oscar Winner, "The Life of Emile Zola". Let's see how much you know about this little-remembered but fascinating film.

A multiple-choice quiz by shuehorn. Estimated time: 3 mins.
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Author
shuehorn
Time
3 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
386,242
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Easy
Avg Score
8 / 10
Plays
1130
Awards
Top 35% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 68 (6/10), Guest 172 (10/10), bermalt (9/10).
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. The movie "The Life of Emile Zola" stars one of the 1930's most beloved actors in the title role. Though he is not very well-known today, he was a big star in his day. Who played the role of Emile Zola? Hint

Charlie Chaplin
Clark Gable
Paul Muni
Cary Grant

2. "The Life of Emile Zola" starts off showing author Zola's friendship with Post-Impressionist artist, Cezanne, played by Vladimir Sokoloff. CÚzanne lives with Zola in the beginning of the movie in what European city? Hint

London
Rome
Moscow
Paris

3. After the success of Zola's novel, "Nana", an expose of prostitution in the city, Cezanne and Zola move to a better place and together delve even deeper into the social issues of 19th Century France.

True
False

4. One of the biggest changes in Zola's life with his sudden success as a writer is his marriage to Alexandrine. Which actress, who shares the last name of another actor famous in the '40s and '50s, though they were not related to each other, plays the part of Zola's wife? Hint

Gloria Swanson
Bette Davis
Paulette Goddard
Gloria Holden

5. Zola becomes a crusader again, to right an injustice that he discovers in the French government. He becomes a champion for a man who accused of being a spy for the Germans and who was unjustly imprisoned based on false evidence. Who is this man? Hint

Captain Crunch
Captain Dreyfus
Captain Hook
Captain Bligh

6. Gale Sondergaard has the most important female role in "The Life of Emile Zola". She plays the woman who brings Dreyfus's plight to Zola's attention and convinces him to take on the cause. Who does Sondergaard play? Hint

Dreyfus's sister
Dreyfus's mother
Dreyfus's wife
Dreyfus's daughter

7. The Captain and his wife have a child, Pierre, whose plight of being left fatherless along with his siblings is another reason that Zola decides to try to achieve justice. What child actor played the role of Pierre? Hint

Dickie Moore
Charlie Chaplin
Jackie Coogan
Rickie Nelson

8. One of the most important and demanding scenes from "The Life of Emile Zola" includes a six-minute long monologue by Zola in defense of Dreyfus. Where does this scene take place? Hint

On the streets of Paris
In Dreyfus's Paris hospital room on his deathbed
In Dreyfus's prison cell on Devil's Island
In a Paris courtroom

9. After his accusations against the French authorities, Zola is attacked and barely escapes with his life. Zola is subsequently charged with libel and sentenced to a one-year prison term himself. Rather than become the second man to go to jail unjustly over the Dreyfus Affair, Zola flees to another country. Where does he go? Hint

Germany
Russia
England
Australia

10. The final scene in the movie is the heartwarming meeting of Zola and a newly-freed Dreyfus.

True
False


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The movie "The Life of Emile Zola" stars one of the 1930's most beloved actors in the title role. Though he is not very well-known today, he was a big star in his day. Who played the role of Emile Zola?

Answer: Paul Muni

Paul Muni played the role of the real-life author who risked his life and liberty to expose corruption and intrigue in the French Government during the late 19th century.

Paul Muni was perhaps the most respected actor of the 1930s. He meant so much to his studio, Warner Brothers, that he was allowed to pick his roles. "The Life of Emile Zola" was one of the biographical films, known as biopics, for which Muni became famous. Paul Muni (1895-1967) started his career in the movie "The Valiant (1929). He also starred in "The Story of Louis Pasteur" (1936) and "The Good Earth" (1937). His last movie role was in "The Last Angry Man" (1959), but he did pop up in one episode of the television series "Saints and Sinners" in 1962".

The other actors listed were not in this film, and their careers have weathered the test of time better than Muni's.
2. "The Life of Emile Zola" starts off showing author Zola's friendship with Post-Impressionist artist, Cezanne, played by Vladimir Sokoloff. CÚzanne lives with Zola in the beginning of the movie in what European city?

Answer: Paris

The movie opens with Zola and CÚzanne struggling to make ends meet with their respective arts in a rundown flat in Paris. CÚzanne is a painter, and is very involved in the intellectual community in Paris. Muni's Zola is an idealistic writer, trying to find success while still being true to writing about the injustices he sees.

None of the other cities are in France. The first scene in the movie gives us the setting.

Cezanne: It's no use, Emile. The place is like a sieve. It would take all the rags in Paris to stuff half its holes.
Zola: Paris. Vast. Motionless. A gigantic mother brooding over her millions of children, good and bad. It's magnificent, Cezanne. You must paint it. As someday I shall write it.
Cezanne: No, Zola. It's hopeless. You know that people don't want to see the stark face of truth. They would much prefer perfumed lights like these. They ought to be burned like something unclean.
3. After the success of Zola's novel, "Nana", an expose of prostitution in the city, Cezanne and Zola move to a better place and together delve even deeper into the social issues of 19th Century France.

Answer: False

Zola's unexpected success changes his lifestyle dramatically while Cezanne continues to struggle financially, and he and Zola eventually part ways. Zola still writes about the things that he is passionate about, but he gradually becomes more a part of the mainstream society in France.

At this point in the movie, Cezanne has not yet found success, and he continues to struggle with his art and the difficulties of the poor and oppressed.
4. One of the biggest changes in Zola's life with his sudden success as a writer is his marriage to Alexandrine. Which actress, who shares the last name of another actor famous in the '40s and '50s, though they were not related to each other, plays the part of Zola's wife?

Answer: Gloria Holden

Gloria Holden bears no relation to William Holden, though they share a last name.

Miss Holden had risen to fame as the daughter of a vampire in 1936's "Dracula's Daughter". Though she showed promise, she was never able to break from the B movie roles that provided her with regular work, into the A pictures, like "The Life of Emile Zola". Her portrayal of the loyal wife here was a good one, though not very memorable.

The other actresses listed did not appear in this movie, and their careers were much more long lasting. Each is remembered today, unlike Miss Holden, who died at the age of 87 in 1991. Her last film role was a bit part in 1958's "Auntie Mame".
5. Zola becomes a crusader again, to right an injustice that he discovers in the French government. He becomes a champion for a man who accused of being a spy for the Germans and who was unjustly imprisoned based on false evidence. Who is this man?

Answer: Captain Dreyfus

Captain Alfred Dreyfus, played by Joseph Schildkraut, is a Jew whose religion may have influenced the decision to use him as a scapegoat and make a quick arrest to show that the spy has been captured.

The other options are all fictional Captains who have nothing to do with this movie.
6. Gale Sondergaard has the most important female role in "The Life of Emile Zola". She plays the woman who brings Dreyfus's plight to Zola's attention and convinces him to take on the cause. Who does Sondergaard play?

Answer: Dreyfus's wife

Sondergaard plays Madame Dreyfus, who approaches Zola only after her husband has already spent years in jail unjustly. Her conviction of her husband's innocence and of Zola's responsibility to the people of France and to the truth are what sways Zola to risk his own social position and get involved.

Sondergaard had a long movie career. She was married to blacklisted screenwriter Herbert Biberman, and she defended his right to work throughout the McCarthy years. This real-life struggle was strangely similar to the role she had played as Madame Dreyfus in "The Life of Emile Zola". Throughout her long career, she was in a host of movies, but some of my favorites were "Appointment in Berlin", "My Favorite Blonde", "Anna and the King of Siam" and Road to Rio".
7. The Captain and his wife have a child, Pierre, whose plight of being left fatherless along with his siblings is another reason that Zola decides to try to achieve justice. What child actor played the role of Pierre?

Answer: Dickie Moore

Dickie Moore was a very successful child actor, whose first role was in a 1927 John Barrymore movie, "The Beloved Rogue", when Moore was only a year and a half old. He had already appeared in over 50 movies by the time he was 11 and earned the part of Pierre Dreyfus in "The Life of Emile Zola". The part is not a big one, but Dickie's winning smile and soulful eyes make it memorable.

Dickie Moore may be best remembered as having given Shirley Temple her first screen kiss in "Miss Anney Rooney" in 1942. He enlisted in the service in World War II and attended college, majoring in journalism after he served. Moore retired from film making at the ripe old age of 29 in 1955 after making over 100 movies. Moore was married to his third wife, former actress Jane Powell for 27 years, until his death in 2015.
8. One of the most important and demanding scenes from "The Life of Emile Zola" includes a six-minute long monologue by Zola in defense of Dreyfus. Where does this scene take place?

Answer: In a Paris courtroom

The courtroom scene, where Zola comes forward with evidence to clear Dreyfus and show that the French government was aware that the spy was another man, even when they put Drefus away on Devil's Island, is the most demanding scene in the film. It may well be the best piece of acting of Muni's career. Understandably, Muni ended up doing multiple takes, but this was in the days before blooper reels or extras on DVDs, so there is no living evidence of these initial attempts.

When the scene was finally "in the can", Muni got a standing ovation from the cast and crew.
9. After his accusations against the French authorities, Zola is attacked and barely escapes with his life. Zola is subsequently charged with libel and sentenced to a one-year prison term himself. Rather than become the second man to go to jail unjustly over the Dreyfus Affair, Zola flees to another country. Where does he go?

Answer: England

Zola flees to England to avoid imprisonment and possible martyrdom, and continues his opposition to the Dreyfus Affair from there. He would have been unlikely to go to any of the other choices, especially Germany, since that is the country for which Dreyfus was falsely accused of being a spy.

Eventually, a new administration is elected in France, and the cover-up is exposed. Those involved with the scandal are dismissed from their positions, and some commit suicide. Zola's efforts are finally recognized and rewarded.
10. The final scene in the movie is the heartwarming meeting of Zola and a newly-freed Dreyfus.

Answer: False

Unfortunately, though Zola knows that Dreyfus is going to be freed, he dies shortly before Dreyfus's release from prison in a freak carbon-monoxide poisoning incident due to a clog in his chimney's flue. The movie is true to this fact of Zola's life, and Muni's character does not meet Schildkraut's Dreyfus.

The movie was a huge critical and financial success for Warner Brothers, and it got the Academy Award for Best Picture for films made in 1937 at the 1938 Academy Awards. It is also one of the 1001 films that you should see before you die, according to author Jay Schnieder.
Source: Author shuehorn

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor skunkee before going online.
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