Click here to go to our home page!
WWW  Super70s Awesome80s
FORUMS | Culture | Movies | Music | News | Sports | Sci/Tech | Timeline | TV

Looking for Movies?
Search by keywords:
In Association with

The Draughtsman's Contract

By Jim Gay

"I try very hard never to distort or dissemble," says Mr. Neville (Anthony Higgins), a draughtsman of considerable talent contracted by a certain Mrs. Herbert (Janet Suzman) to make 12 drawings for her absent husband of their English estate. Part of that contract involves Mr. Neville taking his pleasure, and that pleasure is Mrs. Herbert. While Mr. Neville aims for fidelity in his drawings, infidelity in private is quite another matter. Then the film becomes a cerebral puzzle when objects start appearing mysteriously in the subjects of Mr. Neville's various drawings: a ladder that wasn't there before, a pair of boots standing in a field. Mr. Neville's penchant for realism is stymied by these clues, which may or may not suggest the murder of Mr. Herbert. Peter Greenaway seems to have directed this, his first art-house success, with the aim of exploring the failings of perspective in art and casting his doubtful eye on the possibility of "faithful" drawings such as those by which Mr. Neville makes his living. Greenaway was, after all, an art student, and must have known that drawing machines like the one Mr. Neville uses in the film (which is set in 1694) led not only to the invention of photography, and therefore of film itself, but also to the renouncing of perspective that informs so much of 20th-century painting.

In the film, Greenaway overlays the story's mysterious elements with highly mannered tableaux, making each scene like a realistic, though sumptuous, painting, while having his actors spout witty and complicated sentences. While this is very entertaining, it has a dual purpose, which is to depict the falseness of surfaces. Mr. Neville's faith in the same is his downfall, and Greenaway's triumph is in his distortions and dissemblings, the narrative lie that gets closer to the truth than any architectural drawing could.


Share Your Memories!

Is The Draughtsman's Contract one of your favorite movies? What do you remember about it? Share your stories (or your reviews) with the world! (We print the best stories right here!)



Buy this VHS movie from! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from! (Click here!)Buy this soundtrack from! (Click here!)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Peter Greenaway

Stars: Anthony Higgins, Janet Suzman, Hugh Fraser, Anne Louise Lambert

Released: November 21, 1982

Availability: DVD VHS CD

The Draughtsman's Contract memorabilia!
Anthony Higgins memorabilia!
Janet Suzman memorabilia!
The Draughtsman's Contract videos and DVDs!

Register for free today and start buying & selling with millions each week!
FORUMS | Culture | Movies | Music | News | Sports | Sci/Tech | Timeline | TV

Visit our sponsors!

Copyright 1994-2017, All Rights Reserved.
Use of this site is subject to our Terms of Service.
Privacy Statement
Review copyright and used by permission.