Rembrandt (1936)

RembrandtRembrandt Poster
Directed by Alexander Korda
Written by Carl Zuckmayer, June Head, and Lajos Biró
1936/UK
London Film Productions

Repeat viewing

 

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.

This is a very good biography of the painter with a fine performance by Charles Laughton and beautiful costumes and art direction.

The story follows Rembrandt from about the time he lost his beloved wife Saska after his “The Night Watch” met with ridicule.  We see Rembrandt struggle with poverty and a nagging mistress (Gertrude Lawrence) while he continues to pursue a vision that few share.  He finds contentment toward the end of his life despite bankruptcy through the love and inspiration of former scullery maid Hendrickje (Elsa Lancaster).

Rembrandt 1

Charles Laughton is convincing as Rembrandt.  In the course of portraying the painter, he also has the opportunity to movingly read some selections from the Bible.  But the real star for me was the production design.  The settings, lighting, and costumes call to mind not only several Rembrandt masterpieces but works of other Dutch Masters such as Brueghel and Vermeer.  Recommended.

TV promo

2 thoughts on “Rembrandt (1936)

  1. Don’t ask me why but I have never had any interest in seeing this film even though I like Laughton. I thought it would be dry and pedantic.

    • I don’t want to oversell this one but it is far from dry and pedantic and Laughton is excellent. I had seen it before and was looking forward to seeing it again.

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