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Aretha Franklin Is Captivating in New Amazing Grace Trailer
Amazing Grace, the fabled, never-released 1972 Aretha Franklin concert film, will finally make its way to theaters in 2019. Premiering April 5, the film documents the two-night performance of Amazing Grace—gospel music’s biggest-selling live album and the most successful LP of Franklin’s remarkable career—at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles.
Sydney Pollack directed the almost 50-year-old film just to have it shelved, indefinitely, by Franklin’s request as well as ongoing legal issues. Producer Alan Elliott acquired the rights in 2007, and following the singer’s death last August and with the support of the Franklin estate, the project made its debut at the DOC NYC festival in the fall of 2018, earning rave reviews. This week, a new trailer was released.
The early ’70s was a particularly important time in Franklin’s career. Along with Grace, which earned a Grammy for Best Soul Gospel Performance at the 15th iteration of the ceremony, Franklin also released seminal LPs: 1970’s The Girl’s in Love With You (which features a terrifyingly good cover of the Beatles’ “Let It Be”) 1970’s Spirit in the Dark, and 1972’s Young, Gifted and Black, as well as another live album, 1971’s Aretha Franklin Live at Fillmore West.
The film, then, catches a then-29-year-old Franklin at the height of her powers. And even just the trailer bears witness to what made her so remarkable: her ability to carry just one word through so many notes, the way she circled a beat rather than meet it head on, and her ability to stun—and occasionally stupefy—the audience in front of her.
Amazing Grace hits select theaters April 5, 2019.