An unreleased documentary called Amazing Grace about the preparation and concert of Aretha Franklin’s 1972 performance at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles is coming to theaters. The concert was turned into a live album that is still the best-selling live Gospel album of all time with 2 million copies sold solely in the U.S.Â
The documentary never saw the light of day until now when it will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September thanks to producer Alan Elliott. But Warner Bros. shelved the project because of audio and video synchronization issues.
But while finally releasing the historic footage sounds like a great thing, the Queen of Soul doesn’t think so; Franklin and her lawyers are trying to stop the film’s release, as they were successful doing so in 2011 over image-usage rights. Her and her legal team sued Elliott, and the case was settled out of court. But he uncovered the original 1972 contract with Warner Bros and moved forward with the film’s release.
Elliott said, “I love her. I respect her. For eight years, we’ve been trying to engage her to be part of it, and we continue to hope she’ll be a part of it.”
Franklin’s lawyer Arnold Reed said, “What we have here is a case of individuals who are hell-bent on exploiting the name and likeness of a world-renowned musical icon, at all costs.”
Franklin says she’s content with the film itself, but there are certain things that need to be cleared up first, although she didn’t specify what those things are. “It isn’t that I’m not happy about the film because I love the film itself,” she said. “It’s just that – well, legally I really should just not talk about it, because there are problems. If those problems are not cleared up, you could very well see an injunction.”
Peep the trailer for Amazing Grace below. Do you think the film should be released?