directed by Peter Greenaway
UK 1982

While visiting Groombridge in Kent my attention kept returning to the moated manor house in the beautifully maintained gardens. As I was wondering why it looked so familiar I noticed a plaque with the heading ‘The Draughtsman’s View’. Of course! Looking around I could hear Michael Nyman’s score in my head and almost imagine Anthony Higgins walking along the path wearing that fabulous wig of long dark curls.

 

It’s about time that Mr Greenaway’s films received a DVD release. His visuals, even those of decaying carcasses as in ‘A Zed and Two Noughts’, are some of the most stunning I have seen. They are reminiscent of rich oil paintings inviting you to reach out and caress the textures on the screen.

 

The Draughtsman’s Contract’ utilizes my favourite recurring theme in Greenaway’s films, which involves women doing away with the men in their lives. His stories are definitely unique and can be somewhat unsettling but once viewed they are seldom forgotten.

Wendy Carey

(Aka Cissie Colpitts )

Posters

Theatrical Release: 19 February 1983 (Berlin International Film Festival)

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Zeitgeist Films - Region 1- NTSC vs. BFI Video - Region 2 - PAL vs. Fox / Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Bill McAlpine for the Fox / Lorber Screen Caps!

(BFI Video - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Fox / Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Zeitgeist Films

Region 1 - NTSC

BFI Video

Region 2 - PAL

Fox / Lorber
Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1.47.36 1:43:04 (4% PAL speedup) 1.47.28

Video

1.72:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.3 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.61 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.25 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Zeitgeist

 

Bitrate:

BFI Video

 

Bitrate:

 

Fox / Lorber

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) , DUB: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

Subtitles English (CC) or none French, Dutch or none None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Zeitgeist Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.72:1

Edition Details:
• Director Commentary by Peter Greenaway
• Introduction to the Film by Peter Greenaway
• Interview with Michael Nyman
• Behind the Scenes Footage
• Deleted Scenes
• Stills Gallery
• 
Restoration demonstration

• Liner notes

DVD Release Date: February 12th, 200
8
Transparent Keep case

Chapters 15

Release Information:
Studio: BFI Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• Director Commentary by Peter Greenaway
• Introduction to the Film by Peter Greenaway
• Interview with Michael Nyman
• Behind the Scenes Footage
• Deleted Scenes

• Restoration demonstration
• Stills Gallery
• Trailer for

DVD Release Date: 23 February, 2004
Transparent Keep case

Chapters 10

Release Information:
Studio: Fox / Lorber

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• Production notes

 

DVD Release Date: Nov 11th, 2003
Keep Case

Chapters 9

 

Comments:
ADDITION - Zeitgeist - Region 1- NTSC - January 08': Zeitgeist have attempted some improving work here, although my suspicion is that it is actually from BFI's archives 4 years earlier. The Draughtsman's Contract was shot on 16mm and blown up to 35mm. The 35mm print was transferred to High Definition D5. The new digital master was then restored. There appears to be no uniformity between the two anamorphic releases; BFI and the Zeitgeist. At times the BFI colors look superior but appears somewhat saturated and in other scenes the Zeitgeist has those issues with some boosted brightness. I don't think I can conclude too much on which is the better release based on those criteria, but I do have a few things to say about the new Zeitgeist release.

1) It appears to be interlaced and has some visible combing.

2) The correct aspect ratio of the film is 1.66:1 (as both BFI and F/L are) but the Zeitgeist is reporting a ratio of about 1.73:1. Not a biggie - it shows marginal more information on both edges.

3) It has the exact same supplements as the BFI from 4 years ago.

4) The Zeitgeist is in the correct standard (it has been properly converted).

5) It offers no French DUB (where the BFI does.)

The presentation of this film isn't going to vary much due to its pragmatic production intentions (16mm, candlelight etc.) and the combing on the Zeitgeist is very fine and shouldn't be too much of a hindrance. Saying that - one should prepare that no matter which release you purchase it will not resemble a modern film transfer to SD. I doubt it could improve extensively if it was put to Blu-ray. This is the way the film looks and it's nice to have a superior NTSC offering that easily eclipses the old Fox/Lorber. I enjoyed the Zeitgeist extras... that are actually duplicated from the BFI of 4 years ago. North American Greenaway fans should be fairly happy with this new, slight cheaper than the old PAL, edition.           

***

ON THE BFI vs. the Fox/Lorber EDITIONS: I have the much the same comments here as I did for "A Zed and Two Noughts". The BFI is negligibly cropped, but is far brighter with superior contrast. The Fox appears to be bleeding a little. The colors seem accurate as they are the same in both. As director Greenaway was hands on it the production of the BFI I disc I can only assume the colors are what we wanted. The BFI has far superior Extras features as well as the most wonderful dissolving menus that I have seen. Once again the screen caps alone do not tell the story - the native resolution of these two DVDs is so different that the reduction in screen caps does not fully show the superiority of the BFI disc. Suffice to say, if shown on any widescreen or projection system the anamorphic BFI is the only disc to own for this film.

 Gary Tooze


DVD Menus

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(Zeitgeist Films - Region 1- NTSC)

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(BFI Video - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Fox / Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)
 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

(Zeitgeist Films - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. BFI Video - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Fox / Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)


 

 

 


(Zeitgeist Films - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. BFI Video - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Fox / Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


 

(Zeitgeist Films - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. BFI Video - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Fox / Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 

 


(Zeitgeist Films - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. BFI Video - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Fox / Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 

 


 

(Zeitgeist Films - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. BFI Video - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Fox / Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 

 


(Zeitgeist Films - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. BFI Video - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Fox / Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 

 


Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

BFI / Zeitgeist

Sound:

BFI for the additional DUB

Extras: BFI / Zeitgeist
Menu: BFI / Zeitgeist

 

DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Zeitgeist Films

Region 1 - NTSC

BFI Video

Region 2 - PAL

Fox / Lorber
Region 0 - NTSC


 

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