Verdi Club: Amazing Grace

By Kit Macdonald



Published on March 1, 2024

Verdi Club's one-off screenings (and particularly the ones that start late at night on weekends) tend to foster a celebratory atmosphere: tickets are cheap and come with a free beer, and the late start times lead to viewers who are both a cerveza or two to the wind already, and unusually excited to see whatever is showing. Amazing Grace, which captures the late, great Aretha Franklin in full flow in 1972, is likely to be a particularly festive occasion.

Director Sydney Pollack and his team filmed two nights of performances from the Queen of Soul at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles in 1972, the recordings from which swiftly led to the biggest selling live gospel album of all time. The film, however, languished in the archives for more than four decades, a combined result of Pollack failing to record his footage in such a way that the sound and pictures could be successfully married up (even lip-readers couldn't make it work) and then lawsuits from Franklin when producer Alan Elliott managed to get a workable cut together in 2008. The film only came out in 2019, a year after Franklin's death. Head to Verdi on Friday to bask in a true "Hallelujah!" moment for both music and film.

March 8, 2024
Opening hours
22:30 – 23:59