See It at the Movies

AMAZING GRACE

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AMAZING GRACE

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(1972 concert film)

We went to church on Good Friday: the Los Angeles New Temple Mission Baptist Church, site of a 1972 gospel concert by Aretha Franklin, shown on the screen at the Avon Cinema.

The concert (actually two concerts) was filmed and recorded by Sydney Pollock, with the expectation to release it in theaters, but many technical problems prevented it from being finished. Aretha was 29 at the time, one of the most popular and largest selling artists in the world. The album became the largest selling live gospel recording ever.

Thanks to modern technology, the film, which had been in the can for over 47 years, was able to be remixed and made available to theaters. If you are an Aretha fan, you have got to see the movie. The singer shows her incredible talent, range and emotion. (Strangely, when not singing she is poker-faced).

The Rev. James Cleveland serves as pianist and emcee, showing great emotion when Aretha sings songs like "Amazing Grace" and "You've Got a Friend,” backed a the S.C. Community Choir.

The picture is sometimes out of focus and the camera moves erraticly at times, but it captures the incredible emotion of the audience, all dressed out in their finery.

Aretha's father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, wipes the perspiration from his daughter's brow. Those lucky enough to be present for the historic occasion, including Mick Jagger, cannot contain their emotions.

Amazing Grace is an hour and a half of history that Aretha fans and all music lovers won't want to miss.

Rated G. Incredible; two G movies (Penguins is the other) in one week!

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