Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Aretha Franklin Doc “Amazing Grace” Removed from Toronto Film Festival, Too


I told you when this started it would end badly. “Amazing Grace,” the 1972 documentary about Aretha Franklin, has been removed from the Toronto Film Festival. A court order took it out of Telluride. It was cancelled by the Chicago Film Festival. And now it’s over at TIFF.

There are legal and moral reasons abounding here. Aretha’s lawyers have a 2011 settlement signed by Allan Elliot in which he agreed not to release “Amazing Grace” without Franklin’s permission. Then Elliot went around and claimed he found a contract Franklin signed with Warner Music forty years ago. He just wants to release this movie, and Franklin be damned.

But the Colorado judge stopped it. I would guess the legal fees involved in fighting in Toronto are too much. Also, what judge will allow this to go forward without Aretha’s permission?

There’s nothing salacious in the movie. It’s a beautiful work that one day everyone will see. But when Aretha wants us to see it.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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