WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC presented a premiere exhibition of vintage photographs of legendary 1960s film sets by photographer Hatami, curated by James Cavello. Photographs on view include behind-the-scenes images from "Rosemary’s Baby," 1968 (director Roman Polanski), "Bullitt," 1968 (director Peter Yates), "A Countess from Hong Kong," 1967 (director Charlie Chaplin), and "Doctor Zhivago," 1965 (director David Lean).
Hatami (1928-2017) – known primarily by his last name – started his sixty-year career as a writer in the 1950s for a newspaper in Tehran. Due to short staffing, the Editor required he also use his journalistic skills to photograph unfolding political events. Hatami’s keen eye and assertive nature allowed him to capture decades of historic photos of political, cultural and social events spanning from the Middle East to Europe and Hollywood to New York City. His early photojournalism included covering Israel as a new state, the coronation of King Hussein of Jordan in 1952, President Nassar and the Egyptian Revolution, the Suez crisis in 1956 and later the exile of the Shah of Iran.
In the 60s, far removed from political coverage, Hatami was invited on movie sets to document films and photograph the directors and the actors in their creative process. His interest in the entertainment world led him to capture a variety of subjects such as The Beatles at the beginning of their career, Johnny Hallyday, Woody Allen, Françoise Sagan, Catherine Deneuve, Faye Dunaway, Marlene Dietrich, Gina Lollobrigida, Romy Schneider, Jean-Luc Godard and many others. Hatami was also a personal friend of Mlle Coco Chanel, whom he photographed extensively in her private apartment, while she entertained or created fashion, between 1962 and 1969. In 1979, Hatami documented the Iranian revolution from the return of the Ayatollah Khomeini to the hostage crisis – a curated selection was exhibited at Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs, on the 25th anniversary of the event.
In addition to his photographic contribution for hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles, his work graced the covers of LIFE magazine, LOOK, Newsweek, Paris-Match, Jours de France, Vogue and fourteen covers of ELLE. Hatami’s photographic work is recognized worldwide for its true commitment to photojournalism and is registered with the Library of Congress.
ROSEMARY’S BABY, 1968
Directed by Roman Polanski. Screenplay by Roman Polanski after a novel by Ira Levin.
With Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Maurice Evans, Ralph Bellamy.
In the late 60s, Roman Polanski directed and wrote Rosemary’s Baby, a film that is still culturally relevant. The film dramatized psychological terror and supernatural horror through the chilling story of Rosemary (Mia Farrow), her husband, a B-actor (John Cassavetes), and the occult. Filmed in The Dakota Building, it instantly became a classic of its genre. The film was nominated for best screenplay and Ruth Gordon won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In 1968, Hatami also directed Mia and Roman, a 23-minute documentary shot during the making of Rosemary’s Baby. It was screened as a promo film at Hollywood’s Lytton Center, and it is included as a featurette on the DVD of Rosemary’s Baby. It is a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse of the time spent on the film’s set and the social environment.
Directed by Peter Yates. Screenplay by Alan Trustman & Harry Kleiner after a novel by Robert L. Fish.
With Steve McQueen, Robert Vaughn, Jacqueline Bisset, Don Gordon, Robert Duvall, Simon Oakland.
In 1968, Peter Yates released his San Francisco thriller Bullitt, a critical and box-office success, the story of a Lt. Frank Bullitt, a cop assigned as a bodyguard to a syndicate witness. Lt Bullitt wants to find out who killed the witness and clashes with the mob in the process.
The film won an Academy Award for Best Film Editing, especially considering the scenes from the highly charged car chase through the streets of San Francisco (most driving was done by McQueen himself, without stunt men, and the scene was one of the first filmed with cars at full speed instead of using sped-up film). Photographs on exhibit show personal moments on and off set between the film stars and the crew, who also became close personal friends.
DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, 1965
Directed by David Lean. Screenplay by Robert Bolt after a novel by Boris Pasternak.
With Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Geraldine Chaplin, Rod Steiger, Alec Guinness, Tom Courtenay.
The romantic epic based on the 1957 novel by Boris Pasternak that shifted the perception of Soviet Russia in the West was turned into a major production in 1965. The book was banned in the Soviet Union for decades. Hatami photographed the director David Lean and the film’s theme of the love between the doctor Yuri Zhivago (Omar Sharif) and Lara Antipova (Julie Christie) amidst the turmoil of World War I, the Soviet Revolution and the pursuant Russian Civil War (1917-1922). Photographs on view include Omar Sharif and Geraldine Chaplin warming up from their scenes in the harsh Finnish tundra and David Lean rehearsing in the snow. The film, shot in Finland and Spain, was nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won five. Best Picture was awarded to The Sound of Music. Doctor Zhivago is the eighth highest-grossing film of all time in the US, adjusted for ticket-price inflation.