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September 25, 1987 - Image 78

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-09-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I LOOKING BACK

A Happy and Healthy
New Year
To Our Many
Friends & Customers

13eattsrvvor s

29306 Northwestern, Southfield

Next to Franklin Racquet Club

356-6590

The

Attan
Family
wishes att their relatives,
friends and customers,
a very Happy & Healthy
New Year!

Norman Allan
Esther Allan'
Lawrence Allan
Danielle Allan
Nancy Sturman

4

1914-1985

1937 Movie •

Continued from preceding page

dle class proved at least part-
ly justified.
The film, of course, was
careful not to point an accus-
ing finger at this middle-class
which left one of its own in
the lurch and was all too will-
ing to believe in his guilt just
to get the "mess" over with.
Instead the film made a hero
of Dreyfus's brother who left
no stone unturned to prove
his brother's innocence. And
it exalted — justly — the role
of the non-Jewish writer,
Emile Zola, who could rest
comfortably on his literary
laurels and handsome royal-
ty income without endanger-
ing his position.
It is at the point that Zola
is challenged to involve
himself in the case that the
film turns great and impor-
tant. Zola, after initially
refusing to leave his comforts,
studies the data brought by
the Dreyfus family, becomes
convinced of a serious miscar-
riage of justice and cover-up of
one of its own "inside" crimes,
writes his famous "I accuse"
for a leading French daily.
The case is re-opened, but
not without Zola standing
trial for alleged libel in his ac-
cusatory document, becoming
in his own right a victim of
right-wing justice and having
to flee to England to avoid a
one-year _prison sentence.
In the film, Zola, now back
in Paris, dies of asphyxiation

Alfred Dreyfus

the very day that Dreyfus is
restored to full civil and
military honor in the very
courtyard in which his
medals had been stripped
from his tunic some ten years
earlier.
The most recent account of
the Dreyfus Case consisted of
nearly 800- tightly-packed
pages of intrigue and political
maneuvering. The movie con-
densed Zola's involvement in
barely 45 minutes of footage.
That it managed so well to
condense and abstract the
essence of the Dreyfus Case
was a tribute to the makers of
the film.
Warner Brothers, two years
earlier, had produced a life of
Pasteur and, after Zola, did a

Emile Zola

film biography of the Mexican
hero Juarez, all with Paul
Muni, a much-admired
Jewish actor of the time in
the lead roles. He • was ac-
claimed for all, but for none
more than his portrayal of
Zola. The publicity people for
Warners were now beginning
to refer to Muni as Mr. Muni,
supposedly a special honor.
Muni and Zola -won the Oscar
for 1937.
One of Zola's contem-
poraries who appears in two
or three scenes was the fam-
ed writer Anatole France. It
was he who delivered the
eulogy of Zola in the final
scene. He called Zola, because
of his dangerous involvement
in the most famous trial of
the modern era, "a moment in
the conscience of time."
He was. And because the
public sensed this, The Life of
Zola became a memorable
moment in the fight against
anti-Semitism, human in-
justice, and the enemy lurk-
ing in Germany waiting to
dwarf the injustices of the
Dreyfus Case with the
greatest crimes of all time.

NEWS

Soviet Jewry
Outlook. Gloomy

Washington (JTA) — Morris
Abram, chairman of the Con-
ference of Presidents of Major
American Jewish Organiza-
tions, expressed a gloomy
outlook for Jewish emigration
from the Soviet Union once
the expected summit is held
between President Reagan
and Soviet leader Mikhail
Gorbachev.
He also urged that Jews
leaving the USSR with
emigration visas for Israel
should go directly there
through Rumania and not, as
at present, through Vienna
where most decide to go to the
U.S. or other countries. He

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