7.3/10
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The Draughtsman's Contract (1982)

A young artist is commissioned by the wife of a wealthy landowner to make a series of drawings of the estate while her husband is away.

Director:

Peter Greenaway

Writer:

Peter Greenaway
Reviews
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anthony Higgins ... R Neville / Mr Neville
Janet Suzman ... Virginia Herbert / Mrs Herbert
Anne-Louise Lambert ... Mrs. Talmann (as Anne Louise Lambert)
Hugh Fraser ... Mr Talmann
Neil Cunningham Neil Cunningham ... Thomas Noyes / Mr Noyes
Dave Hill Dave Hill ... Mr Herbert
David Gant ... Mr Seymour
David Meyer David Meyer ... The Poulencs
Tony Meyer Tony Meyer ... The Poulencs
Nicholas Amer ... Mr Parkes (as Nicolas Amer)
Suzan Crowley ... Mrs Pierpont
Lynda La Plante ... Mrs Clement (as Lynda Marchal)
Michael Feast ... The Statue
Alastair G. Cumming ... Philip (as Alastair Cumming)
Steve Ubels Steve Ubels ... Mr. van Hoyten
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Storyline

Mr. Neville, a cocksure young artist, is contracted by Mrs. Herbert, the wife of a wealthy landowner, to produce a set of twelve drawings of her husband's estate, a contract which extends much further than either the purse or the sketchpad. The sketches themselves prove of an even greater significance than supposed upon the discovery of the body of Mr. Herbert. Written by Paul Kevin Harm <pkharm@papyrus-inc.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A landscape of lust and cunning. [Video Australia]


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German | Dutch

Release Date:

30 June 1983 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

El contrato del dibujante See more »

Filming Locations:

UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP320,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,256,246

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,256,246
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The British Film Institute digitally restored this motion picture in 2003. See more »

Goofs

The cooing of a collared dove is not a sound that would have fallen on Jacobean ears, as the species was unknown in Britain until 1955. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mr. Noyes: Mr. Chandos was a man who spent more time with his gardener than his wife. They discussed plum trees - ad nauseam. He gave his family and his tennants cause to dread September, for they were regaled with plums till their guts rumbled like thunder and their backsides ached from overuse. He built the chapel at Fouvant, where the pew seats are made of plumwood, so the tennants still have cause to remember Chandos through their backsides - on account of the splinters.
See more »

Alternate Versions

When Peter Greenaway screened the movie at festivals in 1982, it ran a full three hours. Included in this footage is a full and further explained rationale for the moving statue. See more »

Connections

References Last Year at Marienbad (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

Disposition Of The Linen
(uncredited)
Written by Michael Nyman
Performed by Nyman Band
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A vulgar story turned into a work of art

The Draughtsman's Contract contained a little special conditions; sometimes it was the draftsman himself who would establish the clauses and conditions and sometimes were the ladies who required him and his "services". The title of the film could have well been "The Draughtsman's pencil". The film is full of sexual / fruity symbolism, which complements a statue of a naked man which can be part of any landscape at any time. The movie also presents an outstanding scenery. Makeup and costumes are so excessive that they contribute visually to give a tone of something never seen before, although on the other side, the main plot is extremely vulgar with an outcome certainly as excessive as the rest of the work. The soundtrack by Nyman is not only a great contribution but sometimes eclipses everything by turning the images into a sort of video clip. It could be said that the features of Greenaway's works are similar to Andy Warhol insofar as their ideas for reinterpreting art can turn something vulgar into a fascinating item.


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