Jeff Smith 2:30 p.m., June 26
Aretha Franklin Blocks Release of Never-Before-Seen Sydney Pollack Documentary
Recorded live over two nights at at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles in January 1972, Aretha Franklin's Amazing Grace went Double Platinum and remains her biggest selling album to date.
A four-man 16mm film crew, led by Academy Award-winner Sydney Pollack, was on hand to capture the event. Almost forty-years later, an attempt to release the documentary in honor of the late director was quashed by the Queen of Soul.
With the success of Woodstock and Gimme' Shelter not far behind them, Warner Bros. assigned Pollack, then fresh off a Best Director nomination for The Shoot Horses, Don't They?, as one of the four cameramen. Warners eventually deemed the gospel documentary a hard sell and abandoned the project.
According to Variety, Alan Elliott, the film's producer, will oversee the assembly of the twenty hours worth of raw concert footage that sat languishing in a vault for thirty-eight years. The final credits will read: "a film by Sydney Pollack."
That is, if the Queen of Soullessness allows it. TMZ tells us Franklin has retained the services of an attorney who plans to seek an injunction to block the release of the film. According to her lawyers, "Elliott is breaching an agreement in place with Warner Bros. ... that requires him to get permission from Aretha before using her likeness in the film."
The number of zeros on Franklin's check will ultimately determine whether or not audiences see this all but forgotten work by a respected Oscar-winning filmmaker.
And did the Showbiz Bible erroneously report, "Warner Bros. once envisioned (the film) as part of a double bill with Superfly?" Aretha's gospel doc paired with King Pimp?! They must have it confused with Fly's 1974 reissue pairing opposite another film of the same title.
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