Rembrandt (1936) - Rotten Tomatoes

Rembrandt (1936)

Rembrandt (1936)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Rembrandt Photos

Movie Info

Lightning steadfastly refused to strike twice for the director/actor team of Alexander Korda and Charles Laughton. Though the pair had scored an international success with the 1933 quasi-biopic The Private Life of Henry VIII, they couldn't make the magic happen again with 1936's Rembrandt. Laughton's performance is solid throughout, and Korda's recreation of Rembrandt's Holland is meticulous, but the film suffers from a lack of overall dramatic tension. Except for his artistic achievements and the deaths of his two wives, nothing really "happens" to Rembrandt--at least nothing as colorful as the escapades of Henry VIII. The best element of the film is the successful effort by cinematographer Georges Perinal to recreate the famous "Rembrandt lighting" effect in each scene. Laughton is given fine support by Elsa Lanchester (his real-life wife), and by legendary stage star Gertrude Lawrence in a rare film role.
Art House & International , Classics , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Criterion Collection


Charles Laughton
as Rembrandt van Rijn
Gertrude Lawrence
as Geertke Dirx
Elsa Lanchester
as Hendrickje Stoffels
Henry Hewitt
as Jan Six
Edward Chapman
as Fabrizius
Walter Hudd
as Banning Cocq
Roger Livesey
as Beggar Saul
John Bryning
as Titus van Rijn
Allan Jeayes
as Dr. Tulp
John Clements
as Gavaert Flink
Abraham Sofaer
as Dr. Menasseh
Lawrence Hanray
as Hertsbeeke
Austin Trevor
as Marquis
Gertrude Musgrove
as Agelintje
Basil Gill
as Adriaen
Edmund Willard
as Van Zeeland
Marius Goring
as Baron Leivens
Richard Gofe
as Titus as Child
George Merritt
as Church Warden
John Turnbull
as Minister
Sam Livesey
as Auctioneer
William Fagan
as Burgomaster
Louis Broughton
as Saskia's Brother
Frederick Burtwell
as Saskia's Brother
Baroness Barany
as Waitress
Barrie Livesey
as Peasant
Herbert Lomas
as Miller Harmen van Rijn
Jack Livesey
as Journeyman
James Carney
as Peasant
Roger Wellesley
as Burgomaster's Secretary
Byron Webber
as Court Member
Bellenden Powell
as Court Member
Charles Paton
as Burghers at Auction
Hector Abbas
as Burghers at Auction
Leonard Sharp
as Burghers at Auction
George Pughe
as Museum director
Jerrold Robertshaw
as Museum Director
Barry Livesey
as Peasant
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Rembrandt

All Critics (4)

A marvelously spirited and subtle performance by Charles Laughton, as the great 17th-century Dutch painter.

Full Review… | October 23, 2007
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

[Alexander Korda's] direction tends to be stiff and stagy but he showcases his magnificent sets and costumes and his detailed period recreations beautifully.

Full Review… | October 13, 2007
Turner Classic Movies Online

Largely a basic biopic -- a solid, often stylish and very good-looking biopic, but a biopic all the same.

Full Review… | January 29, 2004
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for Rembrandt

Rembrandt 1936. This film begins at his height as an artist and covers his downfall. This film focuses on his relationships and debt but really starts without the explanation to where he came from, It does not go into his artistic technics, nor his love for collecting foreign objects. Many of the scenes in this film are posed to look like Rembrandt paintings. I like the shadows and lighting in this film for night scenes and inside buildings. Rembrandt liked to paint the poor and render their flaws. He preferred to draw them as they were as people rather than painting them idealized.


Another early work of the great Alexander Korda and the second collaboration between him and Charles Laughton. "Rembrandt" didn't quite enjoy the success of the earlier made "The Private Life of Henry VIII" but is still a fascinating and engaging biopic of the great artist and his struggles. Charles Laughton delivers another nuanced and heartfelt performance as the struggling artistic genius. Laughton's own wife at the time plays his character's wife Hendrickje Stoffels who gives Rembrandt a little happiness after years of agonizing since his first wife's tragic death. The film uses light and shadow much like Rembrandt's own works to great use in the film and really showcases the rewards and hardships of being creatively independent and true to yourself. While the other painters make what their buyers want and profit greatly from it, Rembrandt makes what he wants and what speaks to him and is met with disdain from his clients which in turn ruins him financially. This is a great biopic about artistic expression and everything that goes with it!

Chris Browning
Chris Browning

Super Reviewer

Not very profound or insightful enough depiction of the great painter but Charles Laughton gives a moving performance and that alone makes this biopic worth viewing.

Stefanos Tran
Stefanos Tran

Rembrandt Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Rembrandt on our Movie forum!

News & Features