Aretha Franklin’s 1972 album Amazing Grace was her best-selling album. Some even say it’s the greatest gospel album ever recorded.
But what few of us know is that the recording sessions on those two nights in January 1972, at L.A.’s New Temple Missionary Baptist Church, were captured on film by a 4-man camera crew, headed by the late director Sydney Pollack, shooting more than 20 hours of footage.
Now, almost 40 years later, the footage is being edited and prepped into a concert film for possible theatrical distribution, billed as a film by Sidney Pollack. Interestingly, Warner Bros. once envisioned the film as part of a double bill theatrical release with Superfly! How groovy would that have been?
The studio would later drop the project in September of 1972, not knowing what to do with a gospel concert movie.
Producer Alan Elliott, who had several conversations with Pollack in the year before his May 2008 death, is overseeing the project, working off Pollack’s notes.
We first alerted you to this project early in 2010, when it was thought that the film may actually be released late last year; but it wasn’t.
Today brings word that the producers now want to release it this year, however, Aretha and her attorney Alan Reed are planning to seek an injunction preventing the film’s release.
Apparently, there’s an agreement already in place that says the producers of the film have to get Aretha’s permission to use her likeness in the film before it can be released. And Aretha isn’t ready to give her permission just yet.
What’s this all about?
It’s not really clear why Aretha doesn’t want to film released. I’m going to guess that money is likely at the root of it all (isn’t almost always the case?). Or might she be thinking about the biopic she’s been talking about for awhile now? Maybe she doesn’t want the Pollack film released just yet… not before her own film is made and distributed.
Aretha is reportedly open to negotiating a deal with the film’s producers, so maybe we might see the completed project… eventually… or maybe not… if Ms Franklin doesn’t get what she wants. Next January will be the 40th anniversary of the recording, so that would certainly be a perfect date.
Here’s its trailer: