William Dieterle made several biopics starred by Paul Muni for WB in the 30's, The life of Emile Zola, centered in the Dreyfus affair even won 3 Oscar, including Best Picture.
BBC made Au bonheur des dames last year in The Paradise, a faithful adaptation but too long and boring. I recommend Julien Duvier's silent 1930 free version, filmed in Galeries Lafayette and with locations in Paris, a city unknown for French cinema, I mean, They loved to film in studios, it's very strange to be able to see Paris real streets in 20's and 30's cinemas. A hidden gem.
Both Jean Renoir and Fritz Lang made La bête humaine (I prefer the French to Human Desires)
The other great filmmaker of the trio of ace, Marcel Carné also felt the passion for Zola's world.
Other BIG name in French cinema, René Clément vision of L'assomoir
and the Claude Berri's successful masterpiece