Perhaps you're familiar with Amazing Grace, the biggest selling gospel album of all time and most certainly the biggest selling album of Aretha Franklin's career. What you may not know is that Sidney Pollack filmed a documentary during the recording of that album. It was never completed due to analog technical issues, but 43 years later, in our modern digital age, those have been overcome and it's about to hit the festival circuit. But hold on! Literally moments before it was due to make its world premiere at Telluride, Franklin got an unprecedented court injunction to stop the movie from being shown. And the film has also been pulled from Toronto's film festival. Franklin filed an amended lawsuit yesterday to prevent any screenings, specifically citing any seeking to find a distributor.
"I know I'm an interesting woman when I look at myself on the screen. And I know that if I met myself at a party I would never talk to that character because she doesn't fullfill pyhysically the demands that we're brought up to think women have to have in order for us to ask them out." -- Dustin Hoffman talks about Tootsie and what the movie meant to him personally. Bonus commentary by Jack Lemmon, Robin Williams and Sydney Pollack. Bonus bonus: Siskel and Ebert review Tootsie.
On January 13 and 14, 1972, Aretha Franklin sang during services at the Reverend James Cleveland's New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. The audio recordings released as Amazing Grace remain the largest-selling gospel album in history. However, of the 20 hours of 16mm film footage by Sydney Pollack - intended as a concert movie for tandem release - only a few snippets have ever been seen. (previously: 1, 2)
Sydney Pollack has died of cancer, at age 73. While best known as the director of Out of Africa and Tootsie, he also made documentaries (Sketches of Frank Gehry) and was an actor with notable roles in Eyes Wide Shut, Michael Clayton, and even an appearance in The Sopranos.