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Greenwich Entertainment Acquires N.A. Rights To ‘Uncropped,’ Documentary About Extraordinary Photographer James Hamilton

EXCLUSIVE: A young LL Cool J, a not so young Alfred Hitchcock. Photographer James Hamilton shot them all – Muhammad Ali, Jack Nicholson, Federico Fellini, Meryl Streep and more — capturing not only the famous but ordinary people in striking, candid moments.

Greenwich Entertainment has acquired North American rights to the documentary Uncropped, which explores Hamilton’s work over decades for The Village Voice, Harper’s Bazaar, and The New York Observer. The film directed D.W. Young, produced by Young and Judith Mizrachy, and executive produced by filmmaker Wes Anderson also opens a window onto “the heyday of independent journalism,” as a release puts it.

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Alfred Hitchcock in 1972
Alfred Hitchcock in 1972

Greenwich plans a theatrical opening of Uncropped on April 26 at IFC Center in New York, accompanied by Q&As with the filmmakers, Hamilton and special guests. The film will be released on digital platforms on May 7th.

Uncropped rediscovers the work of New York photographer James Hamilton, one of the great chroniclers of the cultural history of America,” notes a synopsis of the film. “For over four decades working as a staff photographer at publications such as Harper’s Bazaar, The New York Observer and, most notably, The Village Voice, Hamilton captured some of the most remarkable people and stories of the last half century.”

Meryl Streep in 1976
Meryl Streep in 1976

The synopsis continues, “A New York legend himself, Hamilton created iconic images of musicians like Charles Mingus, Patti Smith and Lou Reed, took intimate portraits of everyone from Liza Minnelli to Alfred Hitchcock, broke off to do set photography for George Romero, Noah Baumbach and Wes Anderson, and pursued powerful and controversial assignments across the U.S. and the world. All the while he never stopped amassing a stunning visual chronicle of his beloved New York City in all its grit and glory.

“In particular, Uncropped explores the unique position The Village Voice held in New York life, and the way in which Hamilton’s remarkable body of work exemplified the paper’s provocative merging of art and journalism.”

Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Royal Tenenbaums) is interviewed in the film, as are Joe Conason, Michael Daly, Thulani Davis, Kathy Dobie, Richard Goldstein, Alexandra Jacobs, Mark Jacobson, David Lee, Thurston Moore, Sylvia Plachy, Eva Prinz, and Susan Vermazen.

Jack Nicholson in 1975
Jack Nicholson in 1975

Greenwich co-president Edward Arentz called the film “a must-see for anyone who lived through the times Hamilton and his colleagues so compellingly and intimately chronicled and/or is fascinated by journalism and concerned for its future.”

Greenwich Entertainment also released The Booksellers, the highly regarded 2020 documentary directed by Young and produced by Young and Mizrachy.

In a statement, Young said of Uncropped, “James’s photographs are so fundamentally cinematic, both in their inspiration and aesthetic, that they feel destined to end up on the big screen. We’re very happy to be working with Greenwich again to offer that experience to audiences.”

Director Ang Lee and actress Michelle Yeoh in 2000
Director Ang Lee and actress Michelle Yeoh in 2000

Greenwich’s Arentz negotiated the acquisition deal with the filmmakers. Vienna-based Autlook FilmSales is handling international sales.

Uncropped premiered at DOC NYC last November. In a review for Screen Slate, Amy Taubin wrote, “Uncropped isn’t nostalgic; rather, it’s pricked with loss, primarily the loss of independent publications where writers and editors, rather than publishers and advertisers, were in control.”

Actor Marcello Mastroianni (L) and director Federico Fellini in 1981
Actor Marcello Mastroianni (L) and director Federico Fellini in 1981

Taubin added the film serves as “a necessary document for anyone who cares about great journalism, and why it barely exists today. But even more compelling are the photographs, which jump off the movie screen just as they did off the page. No matter the genre, Hamilton’s photos always bear his signature combination of classical composition with an intense differentiation of light and shadow.”

Scott Fienberg wrote in The Hollywood Reporter, “Uncropped becomes the biography of a bygone journalistic moment. You can mourn the access that was central to so much of Hamilton’s finest portraiture. He was able to spend full afternoons just hanging out with subjects like Alfred Hitchcock without a publicist in sight.”

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