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.
by Hal Erickson synopsis
High Artistic Quality