The Dick Fontaine and Pat Hartley Collection at the Harvard Film Archive contains materials produced by English documentary filmmaker Dick Fontaine and African American Hungarian filmmaker Pat Hartley between the mid-1960s to the 1990s. A professor of documentary production at the National Film and Television School in the UK for many years, Fontaine is credited with introducing the techniques of Direct Cinema to British television and has produced, directed, and written more than forty films specializing in documentary, music, and original drama subjects. In addition to her filmmaking career, Pat Hartley is an actress, having appeared in Chuck Wein's 1972 film Rainbow Bridge alongside Jimi Hendrix and playing the role of Sadie in Heathcote Williams’s play AC/DC directed by Nicholas Wright at the Royal Court Theatre, London. She also appeared in Andy Warhol’s Screen Test, Prison, and My Hustler at the Factory. In the early 1980s Hartley and Fontaine founded Grapevine Pictures in New York—a film production company specializing in documentary, music and original drama. It was under the auspices of Grapevine Pictures that Fontaine and Hartley co-produced I Heard it Through the Grapevine (1982) and Man With A Mission – Art Blakey: The Jazz Messenger (1989).
About the Collection
The paper and film portions of the collection were donated to the HFA in 2006 by the filmmakers. Included in this vast collection are film prints and research copies of projects Fontaine and Hartley produced with the Beatles, John Cage, Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey and Johnny Rotten, as well as video, film and audio elements resulting from the production of many of their documentary works.
A highlight among the materials in this collection are elements related to the research and production of the film I Heard it Through the Grapevine (1982). Directed by Dick Fontaine, the documentary follows writer James Baldwin as he revisits the settings of civil rights struggles of the 1960s in the Deep South and reexamines the movement’s ideals twenty years later. Film elements for Grapevine consist of release prints and pre-production materials, including a set of picture and magnetic sound outtakes. The paper material includes notes, newspaper clippings, reports, and correspondence on the topics of civil rights, community organizing in the south, and the life of writer James Baldwin that were collected by Fontaine while preparing and researching the topic of the film. Scripts, interview transcripts, shot lists, correspondence, contracts and clearances relating to the production, as well as materials regarding the screening and reception of the film are included in the paper materials as well.
A finding aid for the Dick Fontaine collection is available in Harvard's finding aid database. Please note that the 16mm picture and sound outtakes for I Heard It Through the Grapevine are not currently available for research. Any re-use of the material within this collection requires written permission from the copyright holder, which must be obtained by the requestor. Inquiries regarding research and use of the collection should be directed to the Collections Archivist.
Preservation & Public Screenings
The Harvard Film Archive recently completed a digital restoration project on I Heard It Through the Grapevine, resulting in new DCPs and film prints. For public screening requests, please contact The Film Desk.
For more information about Pat Hartley, including her more recent filmmaking projects, visit her website.