In January 1972, Aretha Franklin gave two days of gospel performances at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles, recording what would become her best selling album, AMAZING GRACE. The sessions were captured by a film crew led by Sydney Pollack, but the footage wound up shelved in a vault and has remained one of the lost cinematic treasures of twentieth-century music. Before Pollack’s death in 2008, he expressed a wish for the film to be completed, and producer Alan Elliott took it up with a team of supporters as a passion project. AMAZING GRACE lets the events unfold on film without imposing present-day interviews.
Key figures behind this album had strong Miami ties including producer Jerry Wexler (who died in 2008) and sound mixer Jimmy Douglass, who today runs the acclaimed recording studio Magic Mix Room. In a New York Times rave review of the film, critic Wesley Morris said, “It feels like an act of worship and a trip to the moon….Everybody deserves to have Aretha Franklin take them to the moon."
BBFC Advice: Contains no material likely to offend or harm.
Running Time: 1hr 27mins
BBFC Advice: U
Director(s): Alan Elliott & Sydney Pollack
Country of Origin: USA
Year of release: 2019