Last night Showbiz 411‘s Roger Freidman broke the sad news about the imminent passing of Aretha Franklin. The 76 year-old soul singer has been grappling with cancer for some time now, and is reportedly not far from walking across the footbridge. I’m very sorry. HE hugs and heartfelt condolences to family, friends and fans.
It’s not the time to discuss business matters, but down the road it would be wonderful to finally see Sydney Pollack‘s Amazing Grace, a never-released 1972 doc about Aretha Franklin performing gospel tunes inside a Los Angeles church. The doc almost appeared at the 2015 Telluride Film Festival, but the showing was blocked by an injunction filed by Franklin’s attorney. Some mucky-muck about rights or revenue sharing or something in that realm.
Franklin’s gospel concert, performed inside L.A.’s New Temple Missionary Baptist Church (So. Broadway near 87th Place), happened 46 and 2/3 years ago. Pollack shot over 20 hours of 16mm footage and had hoped to put the film out in concert with Franklin’s Amazing Grace album. But a release never happened due to music rights issues or some other monetary hangup.
In January 2010 Variety‘s Jon Burlingame reported that producer Alan Elliott and editor William Steinkamp had begun to assemble a final definitive cut.
“It isn’t that I’m not happy about the film, because I love the film itself,” Franklin said in 2012. “It’s just that…well, legally I really should just not talk about it, because there are problems.” She added: “If those problems are not cleared up, you could very well see an injunction.”