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:
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...
...
Edward Chapman ...
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John Bryning ...
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Auctioneer
Herbert Lomas ...
Allan Jeayes ...
John Clements ...
Raymond Huntley ...
Ludwick
...
Menasseh
Lawrence Hanray ...
Heertsbeeke
...
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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Beautiful Women...saints and sinners, tender and tempestuous...feeding the fires of his genius with reckless abandon! Eager to share his exciting life...his intense love...even the wrath of men who cried: "Shame!" See more »

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Biography | Drama

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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: [to Hendrickje] You musn't be frightened if I look at you. I'm not looking at you as a... man looks. I'm a painter... painters have a different way of looking at things, you - you must imagine that I'm looking at you in the same way as the water with which you wash yourself or the air you move in or the light that shines on you.
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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 »

Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #26.79 (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Portrait Of A Genius - By A Genius
14 June 2003 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

REMBRANDT Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669), overcomes personal tragedy & great sorrow to be revered as the world's greatest painter.

Sir Alexander Korda's production of the life of the celebrated artist is beautifully presented on screen. Chief among its assets - and the main reason for its success - is the magnificent performance by Charles Laughton. Eccentric & temperamental, Laughton could be difficult to work with. But once fascinated by a role he gave it the full vibrato of his own extensive genius - here he makes Rembrandt an equal member of his continuing roster of fascinating portraits from the decade: Henry VIII, Bligh, Quasimodo.

Laughton had the remarkable ability - like the English actor George Arliss, working in the American cinema - of using his physical ugliness to great advantage, his eyes in particular offering glimpses of his characters' souls. At various points throughout the film - a monologue of Woman's Mysteries; reading from The Scriptures - Laughton's beautiful, soothing voice reaches beyond the screen and down the years to caress the listener.

Making a rare screen appearance, stage legend Gertrude Lawrence plays Rembrandt's shrewish housekeeper & companion, Geertje Dirx. Laughton's wife, the luminous Elsa Lanchester, is unforgettable as Hendrickje Stoffels, the housemaid who wins her employer's love and becomes his greatest defender and champion.

The wonderful actor Roger Livesey, almost unrecognizable behind a bushy beard (but there's no disguising that unique voice) is memorable as the ragged beggar Rembrandt hires to model the Old Testament despot Saul; Livesey's scenes with Laughton are among the best in the entire film. John Bryning turns in a sensitive portrait as Rembrandt's son Titus. Sir John Clements has the small role as Govert Flinck (1615-1660), Rembrandt's disaffected apprentice and eventual rival. Movie mavens will recognize an uncredited Wilfred Hyde-White in a tiny cameo as an officer of the Amsterdam Civic Guard.

The film is given first rate production values, with marvelous interior sets & costumes. The exterior Amsterdam sets are visually striking, with the camera angles and the stark angularity of the buildings making them look almost expressionistic. These contrast nicely with the simplicity with which the brief outdoor rural scenes are depicted.

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Some important dates in the life of Rembrandt:

15 July 1606 - born in Leiden, The Netherlands, to the local miller.

1620-21 - attends University of Leiden.

1631 - moves to Amsterdam.

1634 - marries wealthy Saskia van Uylenburgh.

1639 - purchases large Amsterdam house.

1641 - son Titus is born.

1642 - Saskia dies; Rembrandt paints 'The Shooting Company of Captain Franc Banning Cocq ('The Night Watch').'

1649 - hires Hendrickje Stoffels as housekeeper; she becomes his common-law wife.

1654 - Hendrickje, pregnant with daughter, is censured by church council for living in sin.

1656 - Rembrandt declared insolvent; house & goods auctioned to pay debts.

1663 - death of Hendrickje.

1668 - death of son Titus, aged 26.

4 October 1669 - dies in Amsterdam.

Rembrandt produced approximately 300 etchings, 600 paintings and 1,400 drawings.


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