Thursday, August 5, 2021

#2,595. The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936)


Paul Muni shines as the noted French scientist whose groundbreaking work in microbiology revolutionized the medical field, but what makes this period biopic so unusual is the way it presents its story.

The Academy Award-winning screenplay, co-written by Pierre Collings and Sheridan Gibney, spends a great deal of time explaining the science behind Pasteur’s work. Early on, when he and his colleagues are trying to find a cure for anthrax, which is wiping out the country’s sheep population, we’re treated to numerous slides - viewed under a microscope - showing cultures of healthy blood cells and those infected with the disease.

That’s not to say The Story of Louis Pasteur is all business; there’s a romantic subplot involving Pasteur’s daughter Annette (Anita Louise), who becomes engaged to – and eventually marries – Jean Martel (Donald Woods), a colleague of Pasteur's, and the great scientist is often forced to defend his research, which is repeatedly attacked by Dr. Charbonnet (Fritz Lieber Sr.), the personal surgeon of the Emperor (Walter Kingsford).

But it’s the film’s attention to detail, and the manner in which it honors Pasteur’s legacy, that makes The Story of Louis Pasteur a truly fascinating motion picture.
Rating: 9 out of 10

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