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Draughtsman's Contract
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Average customer rating: 4.17 out of 5
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Product Information

Media: DVD
Manufacturer : Fox Lorber
Release data : 14 December, 1999

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  • A selection of product reviews

    1 star1 starNo starNo starNo star    Great music, shame about the production - hence only 2 stars

    I thought I'd add this review for those of you who saw the film and fancied the soundtrack. I really love this music but the production quality on the CD (well at least my CD) is appalling. It is muddled and strident and not at all enjoyable. If you have anything like a good CD replay system this album will show how bad the sound engineering really is. Quite frankly, if I had produced this album I certainly would not want my name on the cover and would expect to be sacked! Be advised, this album may spoil the music for you. Buy used or listen to a friend's copy first to be on the safe side.

    1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star    Nyman’s first real Greenaway music still sounds stunning!

    The Draughtsman’s Contract is one of the greatest British films of the eighties... a wonderful fusion of baroque 17th century mystery, with pop art sensibilities and arcane references to neo-classical literature & art. All of Greenaway’s principal trademarks were there, from infidelity, jealousy, revenge and vulgarity... whilst the lushness of the design and the ornate perfectionism of the mise-en-scene certainly acted as the foundation for later works such as the Cook the Thief his Wife & her Lover, and 8 ½ Women. It’s a film rich in intricate details that make it impossible to forget, not to mention acting as one of the director’s early ‘funny’ ones... it also had a thread of self-reference running throughout, not just within the wordy, multi-layered script, or for that matter, the visual design (filled with various windows within windows, worlds within worlds, etc)... but also in the musical references of Nyman’s similarly classical compositions.

    Here, the music draws primarily on the works of Purcell, with delicate strings and percussion featuring alongside a plethora of rich instrumentation, from shimmering horns, angelic harps and an almost anachronistic use of synthesisers. This was the soundtrack that got Nyman tagged as a clinical, self-aware minimalist... though this seems something of a fallacy when re-evaluated in the year 2004. Many established bands have taken on Nyman’s approach to layered ambiences with classical roots, with obvious reference points found on Dexys Midnight Runner’s classic Don’t Stand Me Down, the work of Neil Hannon and the Divine Comedy, Kate Bush’s Sensual world LP and Radiohead’s back to back experiments Kid A and Amnesiac. There’s also a nod to Bach’s Air on a G-string with my favourite composition here, the delicate chamber-piece, An Eye for Optical Theory... Nyman’s music fits the tone of the film perfectly; to the extent that it is almost impossible to picture one without the other... such was the delectate symbiotic relationship of the director and composer at this stage in their career’s...

    The music is lively, expressive, impressive, and refined... though always readapting itself to go from subdued moments of tranquillity to the kind of bombastic-operatic climes we would see in the epic soundtracks for both the Cook the Thief, and Prospero’s Books. There’s something to suit every mood here, which is more than can be said for Nyman’s later (more-polished though similarly more melancholic) compositions for films such as Gattaca, the End of the Affair and Wonderland. If you are interested in discovering Nyman’s music without the cinematic reference points, then I would advise you to instead purchase his ‘best of film scores’ compilation, which has all the recognisable (for lack of a better word) hits...! This is still a great work though, and the mastering of the musical layers on the CD is stunning, brining out a plethora of hidden details whilst making Nyman’s delicate arrangements all the more entertaining.

    1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star    A film to teach film students

    A couple of years ago I studied film. This film was the first we saw. It is the perfect example to show a script, lighting, costumes, the music, the acting, the art direction and of course th direction itself.
    The film uses lighting used for the period: candles, hundreds of the things. So perfectly used that they light ever room to show the surreal life of the film.
    This, to me, is the ultimate Greenaway film. Like The Cook, The Thief, his Wife and her Lover, Greenaway brings a fantasy like splendor to the viewer, that only he could bring.
    The film is about a lady who pays a draughtman to draw 12 sketches of her husbands estate, whilst he is away.
    Sounds simple enough, but there is a twist to the story line which is hard to understand even when the film has finished. But is that not an appeal?
    If you are looking for a "quirky", different, well made and fanastic film to watch...then this is it.
    You won't be disappointed. I promise

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