Amazing Grace

Documentary/Music Rated: G 89 min
Friday, May 17
Saturday, May 18
Sunday, May 19
Monday, May 20
Tuesday, May 21
Wednesday, May 22
Thursday, May 23
Play Amazing Grace movie still

At last we can see this long-awaited, legendary concert documentary, shot in 1972, of Aretha Franklin performing songs from the best-selling gospel album at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts. The director was an up-and-coming Sydney Pollack, whose stellar list of credits would eventually include They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?; The Way We Were; and Tootsie. Pollack’s mind must have been elsewhere when he recorded this concert, because he did a sloppy job, not only neglecting to sync sound and picture, but doing little prep and even failing to note the names of the songs. The film was subsequently entangled in legal problems for decades, and it took heroic efforts by its producer to finish it and get it released. It turns out to have been well worth waiting for. — Peter Biskind

With closed captioning on Monday, May 20 at 7:00pm

“You get both the most lovely gaze a professional camera’s ever laid upon Aretha Franklin and some of the mightiest singing she’s ever laid on you.” — Wesley Morris, New York Times
“It’s an act of cinematic resurrection if ever there was one.” — Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
“The voice of Aretha Franklin is touched by God. And the glory is all there in this landmark concert film of her 1972 gospel shows, long delayed by technical problems. They say good things are worth waiting for. This shining light of a film proves it.” — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
directed by
Sydney Pollack and Alan Elliott