I am watching The Life of Émile Zola (1936), corny and stirring by turns, starring Paul Muni. The movie focuses on his trial for libel that resulted from his publication of J’accuse..! his dissection of the sham conviction of Dreyfus for treason. Virulent hatred of Jews was at the center of the case, so it’s interesting how the film treats the subject of anti-semitism.
The words “Jew” and “anti-semitic” are never spoken in the film. The theme is all very sotto voce. When the general staff is looking for a fall guy to take the blame for the spying they have detected, they examine a roster of it’s members. The religion of each is noted. The head points to Dreyfus’s name and says, “There’s our man.”
When Zola is brought before the kangaroo court for libelling the French military, there are several long shots of the assembled dignataries and spectators. A huge painting of The Crucifixtion makes the point that church and state are not separate in France.
The violent anti-Dreyfus mobs are shown, but there is no indication of their vicious anti-semitic bent. Nor is the anti-clericalism of the Dreyfusards hinted. You have to know the history to read the subtext of the film.