Another strong performance in the prime of Charles Laughton’s career. He’s coming off the Oscar win for The Private Life of Henry VIII in 1934 and another nom for Mutiny on the Bounty in 1935
Despite the casting trends towards a dour and cantankerous old man- Laughton and do humor and good cheer like he does effectively in the opening- there’s clearly range, Hunchback, royalty— as much range as any actor in that era this side of Paul Muni. Laughton is fascinating in every scene- animation without overacting
Love the “10 years later” title card with a Rembrandt mural on it
Recreates the Netherlands with credibility
Korda’s direction is solid—in a mini-montage of the judges, there’s three of them in the frame at the time three times—it’s well-staged
The film is a standard biopic narrative arc, struggle— again showing sensitivity and love of wife that Laughton would rarely later show.
Love the ending shot- pans away from Laughton (Rembrandt) to the window with light coming in—then light fades