The Grotesque (film)

The Grotesque

Region 2 DVD cover, featuring Alan Bates and Sting
Directed by John-Paul Davidson
Produced by Stephen Evans
John Kay
Trudie Styler
Written by Patrick McGrath
(novel and screenplay)
Starring Alan Bates
Lena Headey
Theresa Russell
Music by Anne Dudley
Cinematography Andrew Dunn
Edited by Tariq Anwar
Distributed by Live Entertainment (U.S.)
Release dates
  • 14 June 1996 (1996-06-14) (UK)
  • 7 March 1997 (1997-03-07) (U.S.)
  • 28 November 2001 (2001-11-28) (France TV)
Running time
99 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Grotesque (also known as Grave Indiscretion and Gentlemen Don't Eat Poets) is a 1995 British film by John-Paul Davidson, adapted from the 1989 novel of the same name by Patrick McGrath. It stars Alan Bates, Lena Headey, Theresa Russell and Sting.

Academy Award-winning Costume Designer Colleen Atwood worked on the film, and McGrath's wife, actress Maria Aitken, performed in a supporting role.


Sir Hugo is more interested in reconstructing dinosaur bones than in paying attention to his wife, Lady Harriet. He's not thrilled when daughter Cleo brings home her betrothed, Sidney, who aspires to be a poet. The new butler, Fledge, provides Lady Harriet with the attention she's been missing and then seduces Sidney. Did he have a role in Sidney's disappearance as well?


Alternate titles and availability

The film was released under the title Gentlemen Don't Eat Poets in the United States, and later its US video title was Grave Indiscretion. It is also known as Butler morden leiser in Germany, Grotesco in Portugal, and Perverso in Spain.

The film is available on Region 2 DVD (as The Grotesque) and VHS (Grave Indiscretion) only, though both versions are out of print.


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