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26 customer reviews

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Rembrandt + The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933)
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Editorial Reviews

Academy AwardÂ(r) winner* Charles Laughton brilliantly captures the inner turmoil of the passionate 17th-century genius in probably the finest acting performance ever recorded on celluloid (The Observer)! In Amsterdam of 1642, master painter Rembrandt Van Rijn (Charles Laughton), enjoys a rich, full life in a beautiful, blinding, swirling mist of fame and fortune. But with the sudden death of his beloved wife and muse, his work takes a dark, sardonic turn that quickly offends even his most loyal patrons. Bankrupt and bereft, he finds comfort in the arms of pretty, young Hendrickje (Elsa Lanchester), a servant in his home. Now, offered a surprising second chance at love, will he summon the courage to overcome his demons or will tragedy continue to haunt one of the greatest painters who ever lived? *1932 33: Actor, The Private Life of Henry VIII

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Charles Laughton, Gertrude Lawrence, Elsa Lanchester, Edward Chapman, Walter Hudd
  • Directors: Alexander Korda
  • Writers: Carl Zuckmayer, June Head, Lajos Biró
  • Producers: Alexander Korda
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: June 19, 2001
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005AUKF
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,524 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Rembrandt" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By George Grellas on April 7, 2002
Format: DVD
This film is an outstanding item among Alexander Korda's almost single-handed efforts beginning in the 1930s to transform British cinema from an industry dominated by worthless "quota quickies" to a first-class competitor in world cinema. Korda had a prominent hand in such great classics as The Private Life of Henry VIII, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Four Feathers, The Thief of Baghdad, and many others; this level of greatness is akin, for example, to what a company like Pixar is doing with animation in movies such as Toy Story today. The best of the Korda films are nothing if not imperishable classics. And Rembrandt ranks right at the top among them. The power of the film lies primarily in Mr. Laughton's priceless performance, which is a great waggish role and yet is remarkably subtle in both gently comic and touchingly tragic ways. The exchanges with Roger Livesey as "beggar Saul," with Elsa Lanchester as Hendrickje Stoffels, and with the worthies who stirred up scandal after Rembrandt used a commission to portray them in a less than idealized light, are lively parts of the spirited whole that this film represents. And, though the film has sad elements, the overriding portrayal is of an indomitable spirit who, in his eccentric way, triumphs over adversity and mediocrity to leave a cherished legacy of his artistry for the world. Truly, this is one of the greats among films, and certainly among biographical ones. Viewers will love this film for the depth of its powerful central characterization surrounded by outstanding talents in all departments. Highly recommended.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Ursula on September 16, 2004
Format: DVD
The DVD comes with the movie and trailer and that's it. Heck, you can't even put on English subtitles, which I like to do with old films in case I can't quite make out what they're saying. Also the transfer to DVD is not all that meticulous ... there's a couple of scene changes that are so abrupt that it feels like something's been cut out.

I don't know anything about the real Rembrandt's life, so I don't know how much of this movie is true, other than the fact that he was a painter. So, 1 star right away for piquing my curiosity and spurring me on to find out more about the real Rembrandt!

Charles Laughton, as always, is great. Early on in the movie he gave a truly moving speech about love (this was shortly before his first wife dies), about how loving her was the equivalent of loving every woman on earth. I can't do the speech justice (short term memory problems), but I do remember it was moving and I will have to search the internet to see if I can find a transcript of that speech! Charles is great throughout the whole movie.

The sparkling highlight comes about 50 minutes into the movie when Elsa Lanchester first appears. My God, this woman was so charismatic! I wish she had made more films and had bigger roles in movies. Elsa is only in the movie for about 25 minutes, and after her character departs I wanted to turn the movie off. If anyone but Charles Laughton was in the lead, I definitely would've stopped watching at that point.

OK, so this will probably get more no votes than yes votes in the "was this review helpful?" category! Sorry!

Bottom-lining it: Good movie, good story, great acting, Charles Laughton excellent, Elsa Lanchester sparkling and captivating! Crappy transfer to DVD. Worth the price of a rental, not sure (at least for me) that it's worth the price of purchasing.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Alejandra Vernon HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 16, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Charles Laughton's portrayal of the great Rembrandt is itself a masterpiece, full of sensitivity, pathos, whimsy, a lustful eye for the women who caught his fancy, and the eccentricities of a genius who lived way beyond his means and owed more than he owned to his creditors.
Rembrandt loved much, and suffered many personal losses, but his paintings became more luminous and full of emotional depth as the years went by. Laughton is also made to look much like the master, with his wispy mustache, and the resemblance to the famous self-portraits of the last ten years of his life is remarkable.
The film begins when Rembrandt is 36, in 1642, with the passing of his beloved wife Saskia, the model for so many of his works, and is followed by the controversy over his magnificent and enormous "The Night Watch", which was unveiled the same year. I never imagined this picture to be so huge and powerful.
The details of seventeenth century Amsterdam are marvelous, and I especially enjoyed seeing how the studio of the time was set up, with pigments in bottles, and canvas tied to a stretcher frame.
The film belongs to Laughton, and his magnificent performance, but the supporting cast is great, with Elsa Lanchester as Hendrickje, Gertrude Lawrence as his housekeeper and common law wife, and John Bryning as Titus, the only one of his four children with Saskia that survived.
Remarkably clear for its age, with very few crackles in its lovely cinematography by Geoffrey Toye, its years are more noticeable in the soundtrack (by Georges Perinal) than visually. Meticulously directed by Alexander Korda, this film should be seen by all art aficionados, and those who love Rembrandt's work, as you will love it even more after seeing this film. Total running time is 85 minutes.
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