Released on December 25, 1936: The life and times of Rembrandt, who lived a life than few called 'normal.'
Directed by Alexander Korda
Written by Carl Zuckmayer, June Head and Lajos Biro.
The Actors: Charles Laughton (Rembrandt van Rijn), Gertrude Lawrence (Geertje Dirx), Elsa Lanchester (Hendrickje Stoffels), Edward Chapman (Fabrizius), Walter Hudd (Captain Banning Cocq), Roger Livesey (beggar Saul), John Bryning (Titus van Rijn), Sam Livesey (auctioneer), Herbert Lomas (Harmenzs van Rijn), Allan Jeayes (Dr. Tulp), John Clements (Govaert Flinck), Raymond Huntley (Ludwick), Abraham Sofaer (Dr. Menasseh), Laurence Hanray (Heertsbeeke), Austin Trevor (Marquis de Grand-Coeur), Henry Hewitt (Jan Six), Gertrude Musgrove (Elsa), Richard Gofe (Titus as a child), Basil Gill (Adrien van Rijn), Barry Livesey (peasant lad), James Carney (peasant lad), John Turnbull (minister), Hector Abbas (Burgher at auction), Baroness Barany (Criada), Lewis Broughton (Saskia's brother), Arthur Burne (bit part), Frederick Burtwell (Saskia's brother), Robert Cochran (bit part), Rex Evans (Civil Guardsman), William Fagan (Burgomaster), Marius Goring (Baron Leivens), Wilfrid Hyde-White (Civil Guardsman), Alexander Knox (Ludwick's assistant), Jack Livesey (journeyman), Meinhart Maur (Ornia), George Merritt (Church warden), Charles Paton (Burgher at auction), Hay Petrie (Jeweller), Bellenden Powell (court member), George Pughe (museum director), Jerrold Robertshaw (museum director), Leonard Sharp (burgher at auction), Byron Webber (court member), Roger Wellesley (Burgomaster's secretary), Edmund Willard (Van Zeeland), Pamela Wood (bit part).
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Rembrandt van Rijn was referred to as the Black Sheep of the town. He was a commercial artist in Holland that was commissioned to paint the wealthy men and women of Amsterdam in a way that made them look as regal and beautiful as they thought that they were. One day he did the unthinkable. He was a dreamer, and he saw the world and the people in it very differently than everyone else. He was commissioned to paint the largest, greatest painting of the city that featured all of the greatest men of the city. But he painted the men that he saw in his heart, not the glorified portraits that were expected. When the painting was unveiled to the public, he was ridiculed and abused because of the style of his painting. And at that moment, something in Rembrandt happened . . . something that no one saw or understood save Rembrandt himself. He turned down a different path, a path that guaranteed him ridicule and misery for the rest of his life, but also left him the legacy as the greatest artist in the world. He decided that instead of painting what 99% of the world wanted him to paint, he would paint only what was in his heart.
Charles Laughton once again shows us why he was such a legendary actor with this portrayal of the black sheep of Holland, Rembrandt van Rijn. He elegantly portrays the life of a man that, although ridiculed, pitied and disrespected by the leading citizens of Holland, never got bitter or sour, but faithfully followed a passion that no one but he could see or understand. While everyone around Rembrandt thought he was of no earthly value, he merrily continued to do the only thing that his passion could allow him to do . . . paint the world as his heart saw it, and that was very different from what the rest of the world saw.
Are you, or do you know someone that just doesn't fit in with the people around them? Have you ever been told that you were the 'Black Sheep' of your family or group? If you walk a lonely path that is different from the crowd, instead of being envious of the crowd, celebrate your 'difference' and live from your heart, not your head, like Rembrandt van Rijn did. Even if you live your entire life misunderstood by everyone around you, live your life YOUR way, and enjoy the inner peace that comes with doing what your heart tells you, not what the crowd tells you. Let Rembrandt van Rijn be an inspiration to you to be unique . . . be yourself.