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2019, Documentaries

Amazing Grace (2019 in Spain)

AmazingGrace

Duration 1h 29m Rating (UK) U
Source of story This is a documentary – really a film of the making of a film to accomoany the release of a 1972 LP
Director Sydney Pollack
Writers/Script NA
Starring Aretha Franklin, James Cleveland, the Southern California Community Choir, conductor Alexander Hamilton

Elevator Pitch: Aretha Franklin, who had in her youth been a gospel singer, accompanying her father as he toured the south, returned to her roots, making an album of religious songs with the California Community choir over two days in front of an audience at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Los Angeles. A film was made of the event but it was never released until the sound had been synchonised with the images.

Content: The concert is filmed, with one or two excursions into the rehearsals and views of the audience. Only once did we see a new start to a song, although there must have been more. At one point there is a scuffle I think between the singer Clara Ward and someone else. Some people know what it was about.  The cameras focus as much on the conductor of the choir Alexander Hamilton as on Aretha.

A View: This film garnered 99% approval on Rotten Tomatoes, but if I’m honest it is not for everybody. Some of the music is a bit obscure for those who do not follow spiritual worship, but on the other hand some other hymns are absolutely fantastic, even breathtaking; so maybe they are enough to make it worth your time and money.

Additional Info: There is a lot of background if you care to look for it, but basically Sydney Pollack did not use clapperboards, which usually synchronise the sound on films (I did not know this) and so it has taken all this time for someone with the dedication and the technique to put it all together (Alan Elliot).

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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