Thursday, May 30, 2024

Aretha Franklin, With Pulitzer Prize Win, Proves to be a Box Office Draw: “Lost” 1972 Gospel Concert Film “Amazing Grace” Is a Hit


She didn’t want it released. She had her reasons.

But lo and behold, Aretha Franklin’s “lost” gospel film is a hit. Fresh off her surprise Pulitzer Prize award this week, Aretha’s “Amazing Grace” is drawing nice crowds.

This week, the film made by Sydney Pollack in 1972 made $591,642. The total take so far is $1.3 million. Aretha and Sydney must be applauding from heaven.

“Amazing Grace” was bought from Pollack and freshened up by Allan Elliot, son of a former Atlantic Records executive. Then he fought and persisted to get it released. Part of that project was synching up the vocals and the video. He and his team did it, but Aretha kept saying no. Once she passed last August, her estate said yes.

The result is a document that anyone who loves R&B or gospel and especially Aretha, must see. And they’re turning out. If only Elliot had waited to let the film be eligible for this year’s Oscars. But he put it in for 2019, too late, and the film was overlooked. So it won’t win an Academy Award. But it will be a permanent testament to the power, magic, and brilliance of Aretha. Say amen, everyone.

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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