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Rare Vintage Movie Poster “Dreyfus Affair” with Jose Ferrer illustrating the famous Dreyfus trial at the end of the 19th Century. The movie was produced by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer. This poster is the French version published in France.
MOVIE REVIEW Dreyfus Affair; Ferrer in ‘I Accuse!’ At Local Theatres By BOSLEY CROWTHER Published: March 6, 1958 To the average moviegoer, this may seem a rather late date to be dramatizing the details of the Dreyfus Affair, that famous case of military injustice that occurred in France some sixty years ago. Especially since “The Life of Emile Zola” put it pretty strongly on the screen, it does seem a bit behindhand that José Ferrer should now be going at it again in “I Accuse!” his new film, which had its local première yesterday in some fifty neighborhood theatres. Yet Mr. Ferrer has tried it. And for anyone who has never seen “The Life of Emile Zola” or is particularly curious about the Dreyfus Affair, his studious and generally valid re-enactment of the highlights of the case offers rewards. For instance, this Dreyfus-centered version, prepared by Gore Vidal from the book of Nicholas Halasz, reduces the role that Zola played to that of a supplementary firebrand with his classic editorial, “J’accuse!” Zola steps into the story when it is better than two-thirds done, delivers his rousing editorial and then steps out again. The effect of his bold participation is reflected in some shots of hooting crowds, aroused to pro-Dreyfus hysteria. This is a fair digest of Zola’s role. Further, this version of the scandal makes it clear that Dreyfus was victimized more through bureaucratic bungling and political expediency than because of the fact that he was a Jew. The snowballing of crass mistakes and raw injustice makes for the momentum in this film. The hidebound system of military tyranny is the villain; Dreyfus is the unfortunate victim. This is interesting as history. And Mr. Ferrer, who directed and plays the leading role, is to be commended for trying to put in focus the essential nature of the affair. But, unfortunately, this achieved intention doesn’t make for a very dramatic, exciting film. By the time it is ended, the audience is likely to feel more frustrated by political obfuscation and courtroom wrangling than poor Captain Dreyfus was. Mr. Ferrer’s Dreyfus is a sad sack, a silent and colorless man who takes his unjust conviction with but one outburst of protest and then endures his Devils Island torment lying down. He is a chilly hero who stirs mere intellectual sympathy. His wife, played by Viveca Lindfors, arouses the little personal concern that one may feel. Leo Genn as Dreyfus’ military sponsor, Donald Wolfit as his top-brass nemesis, Emlyn Williams as a somewhat fuzzy Zola and Anton Walbrook as the real spy are okay. There are several other performers who do rather well in small roles. Also on the bill in most of the theatres where “I Accuse!” is showing is a good, not great, suspense thriller called “The Safecracker,” which has Ray Milland as its director and star. It begins as a crime melodrama, with Mr. Milland evolving graciously from an expert, on-the-level locksmith to one of the five leading English safecrackers. Then, after he is caught, it transfers him from prison into a World War II commando job and sends him to Belgium with a special unit to crack a safe in a German headquarters. The film is full of those tense situations in which the hero slips into a room and opens a safe in terrifying silence. Mr. Milland is good in it. So is Barry Jones. Incidentally, both these pictures were made in England for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. I ACCUSE! screenplay by Gore Vidal; based on the book by Nicholas Halasz; directed by Jose Ferrer; produced by Sam Zimbalist for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Running time; ninety-nine minutes. Alfred Dreyfus . . . . . Jose Ferrer Major Esterhazy . . . . . Anton Walbrook Lucie Dreyfus . . . . . Viveca Lindfors Major Picquart . . . . . Leo Genn Emile Zola . . . . . Emlyn Williams Mathieu Dreyfus . . . . . David Farrar General Mercier . . . . . Donald Wolfit Major du Paty de Clam . . . . . Herbert Lom Major Henry . . . . . Harry Andrews Edgar Demange . . . . . Felix Aylmer Georges Clemenceau . . . . . Peter Illing Colonel Sandherr . . . . . George Coulouris and THE SAFECRACKER, screenplay by Paul Monash; based on a story by Lieut. Col. Rhys Davies and Bruce Thomas; directed by Ray Milland; produced by John R. Sloan for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Running time: ninety-six minutes. Both at neighborhood theatres. Col. Charles Mercer . . . . . Colin Tapley Colley Dawson . . . . . Ray Milland Sir George Turvey . . . . . Clive Morton Bennett Carfield . . . . . Barry Jones Dakers . . . . . Colin Gordon Mrs. Dawson . . . . . Barbara Everest Herbert Fenwright . . . . . David Horne Fenwright’s secretary . . . . . Jackie Collins