I Accuse! is a British-American 1958 CinemaScope biographical drama film directed by and starring José Ferrer. The film is based on the true story of the Dreyfus Case, in which a Jewish captain in the French Army is falsely accused of treason.
|Directed by||José Ferrer|
|Produced by||Sam Zimbalist|
|Screenplay by||Gore Vidal|
|Based on||the book Captain Dreyfus; The Story of a Mass Hysteria by Nicholas Halasz|
|Music by||William Alwyn|
|Edited by||Frank Clarke|
In 1894 Alfred Dreyfus (José Ferrer), a Jewish captain in the French Army, is falsely accused of treason. He is sentenced to imprisonment on Devil's Island. When the real traitor is found, the French Army tries to hide the truth by exonerating the traitor in a mock trial. Émile Zola, the famous French author, writes a letter to the President of France entitled "I Accuse!", which reveals the truth behind the cover up. The letter is published in the newspaper and Zola is sued for libel, leading to a re-examination of the entire Dreyfus case.
- José Ferrer as Captain Alfred Dreyfus
- Anton Walbrook as Maj. Esterhazy
- Viveca Lindfors as Lucie Dreyfus
- Leo Genn as Maj. Piquart
- Emlyn Williams as Émile Zola
- David Farrar as Mathieu Dreyfus
- Donald Wolfit as Gen. Mercier
- Herbert Lom as Maj. DuPaty de Clam
- Harry Andrews as Maj. Henry
- Felix Aylmer as Edgar Demange
- George Coulouris as Col. Sandherr
- Peter Illing as Georges Clemenceau
- Michael Hordern as Prosecutor
- Laurence Naismith as Judge
- Ernest Clark as Prosecutor
- Eric Pohlmann as Bertillon
- John Phillips as Prosecutor, Esterhazy trial
- Malcolm Keen as President of France
In October 1955 MGM acquired an option on the film rights. The story had been filmed previously, notably in The Life of Emile Zola and The Dreyfus Case, but MGM claimed the book "contains quite a bit of material that had not come to life before".
In January 1957 Sam Zimablist announced that Jose Ferrer would star and direct.
The fact that Dreyfus was railroaded because he was Jewish was obscured in the movie The Life of Emile Zola (1937). Only those villains whose names were a matter of public record (Major Dort, Major Esterhazy) are specifically identified. Others are referred to as the Chief of Staff, the Minister of War, etc. to avoid lawsuits from their descendants (remember that the events depicted in the film, most of which take place between 1894 and 1902, were still within living memory in 1937). As for Dreyfus himself, he was not freed and restored to rank in 1902, the year of Zola's death, but in 1906-after being found guilty again in an 1899 retrial (Dreyfus died in 1935, outliving everyone else involved in the case).
- The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
- The Magnificent Storm By ALBERT GUERARD. New York Times ]31 July 1955: BR3.
- BY WAY OF REPORT: Prospect for Zinnemann -- Local Film Matters By A. H. WEILER. New York Times 9 Oct 1955: X5.
- Looking at Hollywood: Jose Ferrer Will Direct, Star in Dreyfus Case Film Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune 15 Jan 1957: a9.
- PECK TO PERFORM IN MOVIE FOR FOX. New York Times 15 Jan 1957: 24.
- 'MY MAN GODFREY' SUSPENDED AGAIN New York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]05 Mar 1957: 36.
- 2 SCRIPT WRITERS WIN CREDIT FIGHT. New York Times 6 Mar 1957: 34.
- L'AFFAIRE DREYFUS Buchwald, Art. Los Angeles Times 10 June 1957: B5.
- Alan Ladd Goes Back To Detecting Louella Parsons:. The Washington Post and Times Herald 14 June 1957: A21.
- TCM - Ben Mankiewicz on 28 March 2015