The Queen of Soul Halts Release of “Amazing Grace” Documentary

Sorry, Miss Re, but this is all kinds of wrong.  Wrong, whether it is money-related or not.

I saw this news August 24 over at Shadow and Act and my mouth forgot to close.  Tambay said this:

Today brings word that the producers now want to release it this year, however, Aretha and her attorney Alan Reed are planning to seek an injunction preventing the film’s release.

Apparently, there’s an agreement already in place that says the producers of the film have to get Aretha’s permission to use her likeness in the film before it can be released. And Aretha isn’t ready to give her permission just yet.

What’s this all about?

It’s not really clear why Aretha doesn’t want to film released. I’m going to guess that money is likely at the root of it all (isn’t almost always the case?). Or might she be thinking about the biopic she’s been talking about for awhile now? Maybe she doesn’t want the Pollack film released just yet… not before her own film is made and distributed.

Aretha is reportedly open to negotiating a deal with the film’s producers, so maybe we might see the completed project… eventually… or maybe not… if Ms Franklin doesn’t get what she wants. Next January will be the 40th anniversary of the recording, so that would certainly be a perfect date.

I’m thinking that Aretha is holding up the documentary for ransom for money, especially since releasing the film this year makes it Oscar-ready for consideration.   And I predict that it would win in a walk.

One can wait until Jesus supposedly returns regarding that bio-flick that Aretha wants made.  At one time, she let it be known that she wanted Halle Berry to portray her.  I rolled my eyes when I read that one, and I’m sure that I wasn’t alone in the feeling.

But the documentary is nearly finished, if not completed now, and could be considered the final, great work by the late director Sydney Pollack.  People had been saying for months that it was being edited according to what Pollack would have wanted.  Why couldn’t Aretha have approached Elliott when it was first announced?  Aretha–or her handlers–wait this long, just before the film is about to be released, to pull this stunt?  Some people are actually saying that this is just what it is, a stunt.

But nobody obscures The Queen.  Pollack may have filmed her, but she’s the star, and not this dead Jewish guy.

I know for sure that a lot of people want to see this film after some 40-odd years.  They would get upset if it is again shelved, this jewel from the Seventies once again picking up dust.   The woman should simply name her figure–if that agreement that she would have the final word on her likeness being used holds water–and simply get out of her own way.  Those who still have copies of the original platters/cassettes of the performance from the Seventies will fork over for the new version on CD and will gladly pay beaucoup for the DVD when it comes out.  She should think about that, too.

A couple of commenters over at Nikki Finke‘s Deadline thought that Aretha was also motivated by vanity in not wanting the film released.  Sic transit gloria mundi.

As someone earlier pointed out, in 1972 Aretha was at the top of her game, especially when it comes to facial beauty and body size.

Now we have the older, much heavier Aretha Franklin of today, and the contrast is just too dissimilar.

The way I see it, Aretha is a truly amazing woman who has earned the right to look any damn way she chooses after surviving this long in the music business, and I can’t blame her for not wanting to be constantly compared to the “old” youthful Aretha Franklin again and again and found wanting.

Show the movie after she has passed away if those are her wishes.

Oh hell, no.  I don’t want to wait that long. There is a limit.

Aretha’s not that heavy any more, but in some ways her mirror has definitely cracked, as it has for many of us. She is still an impressive woman, young or old.

She was 30 when this film was made, and Sydney Pollack, who had directed TV shows like My Favorite Martian, was just beginning his rise with They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? and Jeremiah Johnson under his belt.  The early Seventies was a problematic time for Franklin, having to fend off pretenders to the crown like Roberta Flack, Dusty Springfield and even Diana Ross, and some of her audience had moved on.  She had become a natural woman by that time: the wigs were gone, and she was wearing a soft Afro.  I doubt whether she truly thinks that her voice was off during those two nights in Los Angeles, or that they weren’t some of her finest performances.  Pollack, to the day he died, knew that he had a diamond still in his pocket, and wanted to see the film released during his lifetime.

This is ridiculous.  Let that film roll.

~ by blksista on September 1, 2011.

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