This character study joins the painter at the height of his fame in 1642, when his adored wife suddenly dies and his work takes a dark, sardonic turn that offends his patrons. By 1656, he ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Edward Chapman ...
...
...
John Bryning ...
Sam Livesey ...
Auctioneer
Herbert Lomas ...
Allan Jeayes ...
John Clements ...
Raymond Huntley ...
Ludwick
Abraham Sofaer ...
Menasseh
Laurence Hanray ...
Heertsbeeke (as Lawrence Hanray)
Austin Trevor ...
Marquis
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Storyline

This character study joins the painter at the height of his fame in 1642, when his adored wife suddenly dies and his work takes a dark, sardonic turn that offends his patrons. By 1656, he is bankrupt but consoles himself with the company of pretty maid Hendrickje, whom he's unable to marry. Their relationship brings ostracism but also some measure of happiness. The final scenes find him in his last year, 1669, physically enfeebled but his spirit undimmed. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

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HE KNEW WOMEN..as no man ever did...better than they knew themselves! See more »

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Biography | Drama

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Release Date:

25 December 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I zoi tou Rembrandt  »

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System Noiseless Wide Range Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sam Livesey, the father of three other actor's in this movie Roger Livesey, Barry Livesey and Jack Livesey died the day after the release of this movie in London. See more »

Goofs

When Rembrandt reveals the newly completed painting, 'The Night Watch', we see not the full, original version that he in fact painted, but the drastically butchered version that was made over 40 years after his death, when the painting was moved from its original exhibition space in the Kloveniersdoelen to a less capacious display space in the Amsterdam Town Hall in 1715. See more »

Quotes

Rembrandt van Rijn: What is success? A soldier can reckon his success in victories, a merchant in money. But my world is insubstantial. I live in a beautiful, blinding, swirling mist.
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: In the seventeenth century Holland was a world power, her ships carried treasure to Amsterdam from all parts of the earth. But her proudest glory was the son of a miller from Leyden, Rembrandt Van Rijn, the greatest painter that has ever lived. He died in obscurity, his belongings no more than a few shillings.

Today no millionaire is worth the money the works of Rembrandt would realise, if ever offered for sale. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Laughton on canvas
12 December 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Charles Laughton returned to his native Great Britain in 1936 for three years and made a series of films there. The first and best of these was for Alexander Korda about Rembrandt Van Rijn, arguably the greatest of all Dutch painters.

Later biographical pictures, Lust for Life about Van Gogh and Moulin Rouge about Toulouse-Lautrec had good location photography going for them. Alexander Korda did create some nice sets to depict the Netherlands of the 17th century, but it just isn't the same.

Another difference between Rembrandt and the other two later pictures is while Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec died young, Rembrandt lived to be an old man by the standards of his century. The film takes us on a forty year journey of his life from the death of his first wife until just before he dies. Laughton is great at capturing Rembrandt at every stage of his life.

As compared to those other two 19th century artists, Rembrandt's life was also not the tormented one the others had. Rembrandt is not a deformed cripple like Toulouse-Lautrec nor is he dealing with the onset of mental illness like Van Gogh. Tragedy happens in his life, but the tragedy isn't out of his own character.

Like the other two Rembrandt was constantly plagued with money problems. That's actually what takes up most of the film, the compromises he makes with his artistic vision and the need he has to put bread on the table.

Gertrude Lawrence and Elsa Lanchester do fine as the two women in his life. Laughton and Lawrence did not get along during the making of Rembrandt, that may have helped give their scenes some real bite. Three members of the performing Livesey family are in this film and Roger Livesey is a standout as the beggar who Rembrandt uses to paint his portrait of King Saul from the Old Testament.

Rembrandt is a finely crafted piece of film making and Charles Laughton gives one of his best screen performances. I wish though it had been done on location the way Lust for Life and Moulin Rouge were.


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